For restaurateurs and publicans, saving on business energy can help you concentrate resources on filling your covers or enticing punters to your business. This energy efficiency guide can help you do just that.
Busy restaurants consume a vast amount of energy, with 40% of it going into the preparation and storage of food. When you consider the lighting and heating that are essential for creating an ambience, and the gas and electricity that are essential for cooking, the costs soon add up.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re on the best deal, so you can keep your running costs as low as possible.
The total spend from the catering industry is £400m each year, or 20,000 million kWh, with the average restaurant energy consumption breakdown set at 60% for electricity and 40% on natural gas.
Average restaurant electricity usage
- Refrigeration – 43%
- Cooking – 14%
- Ventilation – 12%
- Cooling – 11%
- Lighting – 6%
- Other – 14%
Average restaurant gas usage
- Heating – 15%
- Water heating – 18%
- Cooking – 67%
How to improve restaurant energy efficiency
There are varied ways to bring your business energy bills down, by introducing restaurant energy efficiency best practices into your establishment at little to no cost without compromising service levels or health and safety concerns.
With a quarter of energy expended in cooking, that’s an area that could provide the most cost savings. In most establishments, cooking equipment is switched on at the beginning of service and left running throughout the day, but with just small changes, energy consumption can be reduced significantly.
Although induction hobs are usually not preferred over traditional gas burners, these not only heat up quickly, but use up to 50% less energy than their gas or electric counterparts. They also generate less heat, so the kitchen needs less ventilation, leading to lower costs.
With improved technology, including heat recirculation and triple-glazed viewing doors, steam ovens can reduce costs by 40%. In particular, cordless steamers now recirculate the steam, resulting in substantial water and energy savings.
Most kitchens operate deep fat fryers, but not all offer the same efficient energy use. The latest models not only heat up faster and filter the oil to maintain high efficiency, but use 50% less energy. Smaller businesses tend to buy and use domestic appliances in food preparation, but this could lead to higher long term costs. Always look for efficient, professional equipment in the first instance.
Locate fridges and freezers away from heating sources to generate optimal refrigeration savings.
- Locate fridges and freezers in the coolest part of the kitchen—positioning your cooling equipment next to heating sources forces them to work much harder to maintain their temps
- Keep the condensers and evaporators on your fridges and cooling equipment clean
- Keep fridge doors closed whenever possible
- Ensure that your cold room and fridge seals are intact
- Defrost and clean your fridges regularly
- If fridges only store fizzy drinks, turn them off after hours
- When buying new refrigerators, check the energy rating – AA++ rated units are the cheapest to run
Restaurant heating, ventilation and air-conditioning
Zoned heating will keep customers and staff comfortable while saving the business money.
- Service your systems regularly to optimise performance
- Consider turning thermostats down to a comfortable level—you rarely need to use air conditioning below 24°c
- Switch off kitchen extraction hoods when not needed
- Match your heating timer to the times when rooms are in use
- Air-conditioning is rarely needed below 24°c
Restaurant water management
A third, or 33%, of your energy costs are typically spent on heating and hot water, so it’s worth insulating your hot water pipes to make sure you’re not losing any heat.
- Check your water temperature is at 60°c—this keeps water hot and kills bacteria. Swap conventional faucets for spray water taps, as the latter use less water
- Insulate hot water pipes to reduce heat loss
- Fix leaking taps as quickly as possible
- Check your annual savings online for a range of electrical appliances, using the cost calculator
- Check door seals regularly to ensure a tight fit to reduce the appliance over-working
- Maintain appliances regularly to ensure they’re running as efficiently as possible
- Keep the area around appliances clean and free of dust and grime
LED bulbs could reduce the electricity you use for lighting by up to 80%.
- Replace traditional light bulbs in the kitchens and public areas with energy-efficient LED ones – not only do they have far longer life expectancies, but this quick-fix could also save up to 80% on your lighting electricity bills
- Install movement detectors, time switches and daylight sensors
- Encourage staff to switch lights off when they’re not needed
More ways to conserve energy
From the obvious to the more unique, there are numerous small changes your business can make to use less gas and electricity each year. Here are some of the best practices for restaurant energy efficiency:
- Communicate start-up and shut-down schedules for appliances. Optimise heating and cooling systems to correct temperatures
- Install sensors to turn lights on and off in public areas
- Grow your own produce in a garden area
- Install new energy-efficient hand dryers
- Keep doors and windows shut tight
Most business owners concentrate on gas and electricity savings, but going green also means looking at your business’s environmental impacts. Here are some other ways to reduce your carbon footprint while saving money from new green initiatives.
Simple energy solutions with a big payoff
Combined, these relatively simple solutions help you save money, increase your staff productivity, and reduce your carbon footprint – all of which enhances your Triple D bottom line.
By utility consultancy firm, Smarter Business