Reducing your restaurant's overall energy consumption not only lowers your utility costs, it's also better for the environment. Many food service professionals have been adopting energy conservation methods for the past decade and have drastically cut their energy use and expenses. Here, we've outlined energy conservation tips that will reduce your water and electricity use.
Use Energy Efficient Equipment
Commercial equipment contributes a great deal to your restaurant's energy consumption, but your restaurant equipment doesn't have to guzzle resources. Many manufacturers offer equipment that uses a fraction of the energy of their other models, and switching to those designs could save your business thousands of dollars per year.
High-Efficiency Fryers - Upgrading your deep fryer to an energy-efficient model will not only save you money on utilities, but it will also save you money on fryer oil as well. New high-efficiency fryer models experience less scorching which extends the life of your oil.
High-Efficiency Dish Machines - Using an Energy Star certified dish machine can save an average of $1,500 annually when compared to a standard model.
Energy Star Rebates - Not only does Energy Star certified equipment use much less energy than standard equipment, but it might also qualify you for a rebate. Incentives and rebates vary depending on your location, so make sure to check the Energy Star website.
Reduce Water Consumption
Restaurants require large amounts of water to sustain operations. Thankfully, there are some simple ways to reduce water consumption in your restaurant and lower your water bill.
Use Low-Flow Spray Valves - Replace your pre-rinse spray valves with newer models that have lower GPM (gallons per minute) ratings. These low-flow spray valves are easy to replace and use much less water than older spray valves.
Install Low-Flow Aerators - Your hand-washing sinks don't need to have a high GPM flow rating. Consider using low-flow aerators or flow regulators that limit the amount of water flowing out of the faucet and lower the GPM to save you money.
Repair Leaky Faucets - Over time, the drips from a single leaky faucet add up. Instead of wasting water and money, repair your faucets with new components. Many new faucet parts feature a cartridge design so you can swap them out quickly without calling a plumber.
Shut Down Idle Equipment
Conserving energy can be as easy as turning off a light switch. This may sound simple, but countless restaurants waste hundreds of dollars a month because they leave idle equipment running.
Use a Startup/Shutdown Schedule - Take the time to observe when your equipment units are being used the most and create a schedule for starting up and shutting down. During downtime, turn off the range or the fryer and begin preheating again when business picks up.
Lighting Timers - Use timers for your outdoor lighting, or even try solar-powered outdoor lights that can charge themselves.
Smart Controls - Investing in equipment with smart control technology allows you to start up your appliances remotely.
Make Your Kitchen Layout More Efficient
The layout of your kitchen can directly affect the efficiency of your equipment. There are a couple of basic rules to keep in mind that will ensure your appliances are operating at peak performance.
Breathing Space - Your refrigeration equipment needs room to breathe and expel hot air as part of the cooling process. Without proper ventilation space around the unit, it uses more energy to stay cool.
Separate Heating and Cooling Equipment - If you place your oven next to your ice machine, the ambient air will be hotter and the ice machine won't operate efficiently.
While refrigeration typically accounts for a smaller portion of restaurant energy costs (about 6%), regular maintenance offers an opportunity for easy energy savings. Follow these tips for reducing your restaurant’s refrigeration energy expenses:
Clean your refrigerator’s cooling coils at least twice a year. The coils remove the heat from the fridge. When they accumulate dust over time, it insulates them making them less efficient at their job.
Arrange your kitchen to avoid having heating appliances near refrigerators. As you can imagine, having a stove next to a refrigerator will make the refrigerator work harder to keep its contents at proper temperature.
Ensure your refrigerators seal tightly. You can test this by placing a dollar bill between the seals. Consider replacing the seals if you can easily pull the dollar out, because that’s probably not the only money slipping through the door.
Save on energy costs by using an automatic timer to run your ice machine at night when there’s less residual heating in the building and less strain on your building’s electrical system.
The most energy-intensive part of restaurants is food preparation. Kitchen appliances not only use energy to cook, but they also expel that heat, leading to increased energy use for air conditioning, refrigeration and ventilation. But there are steps you can take to reduce the energy used in food prep.
Inspect oven gaskets and seals to ensure heat isn’t escaping unnecessarily. This can increase the workload for refrigerators and HVAC systems.
Replace missing knobs on kitchen appliances; this makes it more clear when an appliance is on and consuming energy, but not in use.
Sometimes simply changing your cooking vessel can lead to savings. Highly-conductive metals and designs that maximize the surface area exposed to the flame can improve heat transfer and help reduce your energy consumption.
Invest in ENERGY STAR certified equipment when you upgrade your food service equipment. While low-cost equipment is attractive in the short run, the appliance’s sticker cost is only a portion of its true cost. Over time, as the bills add up, the expense of low-cost-but-energy-intensive equipment will end up being higher than the more expensive, but energy efficient piece of equipment.
As you can see, there are many ways to conserve energy in your restaurant or hotel kitchen. The thing to keep in mind is to be MINDFULL. When you finish working with water, gas, and electric devices...turn them off! It's that simple. Every penny counts in this hyper inflation economy, manage the pennies and the dollars will look after themselves. Looking for a little help managing your restaurant or hotel? CONTACT US TODAY.
Cheers and have a great weekend!