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According to research statistics by The Carbon Trust, the catering industry spends approximately £400 million on energy costs per year. This equates to around 21,600 million kWh per year and The Carbon Trust also notes that ‘electricity accounts for about 20% of energy supplied, with gas or gas and oil providing over 80%’ for caterers in commercial and non-commercial settings.
Within this sector, restaurants consume a large amount of energy. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to translate into expensive energy bills. Restaurants could lower their overhead costs by increasing their energy efficiency and reducing their energy wastage.
More than 40% of the average restaurant’s energy consumption goes into storing and preparing food. This figure could be reduced significantly if energy saving measures are put in place.
If you run a catering business, continue reading to find out how you could boost your company’s energy efficiency and lower your running costs.
Restaurant Energy Consumption
Below, we provide a breakdown of the elements which typically make up a restaurant’s electricity and gas consumption, according to research into US restaurants by Friendly Power, a US-based energy advisor (we’re assuming US restaurants and UK restaurants use energy in similar ways).
- Refrigeration – 44%
- Cooking – 14%
- Ventilation – 11%
- Cooling – 9%
- Lighting – 7%
- Other – 15%
- Cooking – 68%
- Water Heating – 17%
- Heating – 14%
These figures illustrate that several factors make up a restaurant’s energy usage. Typically, cooking, refrigeration and heating are the largest areas for energy consumption.
To reduce your restaurant’s gas and electricity usage, you’ll need to target each area and ensure that energy is not being used unnecessarily.
In the next section, we’ll highlight some ways in which you can do this.
Enhancing your restaurant’s energy efficiency
Increasing the level of energy efficiency in your restaurant could not only help you reduce your overheads, but it could also allow you to lower your carbon footprint.
Environmental sustainability is currently a worldwide focus, as we seek to combat climate change. By making your catering business more energy-efficient, you can lower your carbon emissions and improve your company’s green credentials.
This could help you stand out from your competitors and appeal to eco-friendly customers!
Below, we highlight some key areas that you could target within your restaurant to boost your energy efficiency.
Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning
Heating accounts for 14% of the average restaurant’s energy consumption. To reduce this consumption, there are many energy-saving measures that you can implement within your business.
For example, setting your thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature could help you save more than you think. Also, syncing your heating timer with your opening hours can help to cut costs.
To assist with your heating management, you could invest in a smart thermostat. These innovative gadgets are manufactured to help enhance your control over your restaurant’s heating. Most of these come with an interactive app, so you could make changes to your heating settings from anywhere!
Zoned heating is also highly recommended for restaurants as it can reduce heating costs without compromising your customers’ or employees’ comfort. With zoning, you can reduce the heating settings in specific parts of your business, without having to make changes to the ideal temperatures in other places.
Additionally, you should always ensure that your heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems are well-maintained. Organising regular servicing appointments could help to prevent expensive breakdowns in the future.
Bonus tip: Ensure that you turn off kitchen extraction hoods when they are not in use to save extra energy!
To save energy, you should ensure that you invest in energy-efficient catering equipment. For instance, induction hobs are designed to use around 50% less energy than gas or electric versions. These systems are also manufactured to heat up quickly and emit less heat during operation, thus potentially helping you to save on ventilation costs.
Also, modern deep fat fryer systems can use as much as 50% less energy than older models. They also tend to heat up quickly, and they can filter oil to maintain high-efficiency levels.
Steam ovens are another investment worth making. These systems could help to reduce your costs by approximately 40%, due to energy-saving features like their triple-glazed viewing doors and heat re-circulation function.
Overall, we recommend that you purchase appliances that have high energy label ratings, as these can help you lower your business’ energy consumption. But take note, the energy labels for UK and EU products have now changed, visit the Energy Label website for more information.
Restaurants tend to spend significantly on refrigerating and freezing their goods. You can lower your energy costs in this area with many simple measures.
For example, try locating your fridges and freezers in the coldest parts of your kitchen. This can help to reduce energy consumption as your appliances won’t have to work as hard to maintain their cold temperatures. Always avoid placing cooling appliances like fridges, freezers and coolers near heating appliances like ovens and hobs, as the heat emitted can cause cooling appliances to have to work harder.
We also recommend defrosting your fridges and cleaning them regularly to keep them in good shape. You should also frequently check the seals on your cooling equipment and freezer rooms to ensure that they are fit for purpose. A faulty seal can lead to significant energy wastage. Additionally, keep all of your equipment’s condensers and evaporators clean and keep your fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
Finally, investing in cooling systems with top-rated energy labels could help to effectively reduce your energy consumption, as these efficient appliances are designed to save energy.
LED light bulbs (Light-Emitting Diodes) are highly efficient and long-lasting. They are a great investment for any business, with most LED bulbs estimated to last as long as 10 years!
LED lights also use 90% less energy than standard incandescent light bulbs, so they can help to lower your energy costs significantly.
In addition to investing in these energy-efficient lights, you may also want to install movement sensors for your restaurant’s lighting to ensure that energy isn’t being used unnecessarily in unoccupied rooms. You should also encourage your employees to make use of natural light as much as possible to drive down your energy usage.
According to figures, 17% of a restaurant’s gas bill is spent on heating water. To help lower these costs, you could insulate your hot water pipes and cylinder to help keep water warm. This will place less pressure on your boiler and heating system.
Additionally, you could install spray water taps or tap aerators to lower the amount of water used by your staff and customers. We also highly recommend that you get any leaking or dripping taps fixed as soon as possible to prevent wastage and avoid expensive water bills. It’s claimed that a dripping tap could waste over 5,000 litres of water per year!
Last but certainly not least, proper maintenance is essential to increase your restaurant’s energy efficiency and cut costs. Booking annual services for key appliances like your boiler and ventilation system can help to keep your restaurant running smoothly. It could also help you avoid costly repairs in the future. You could even perform an energy audit to ensure that energy is being used efficiently within your business.
We also recommend that you keep all areas within your catering business clean at all times. Not only will this help with general hygiene, but it could keep your appliances free from dust, grime and debris and reduce the risk of expensive faults and breakdowns.
Switching energy suppliers to reduce your restaurant’s overheads
Switching energy suppliers is the easiest way to lower your business’ running costs. If you’re currently on an energy tariff with expensive gas or electricity rates, you’re likely to be overcharged for your business energy.
This means that your energy costs will remain high even if you implement energy-saving measures.
Here at Business Electricity Prices, we aim to help you find the best deal for your business gas and electricity. We’ll compare energy deals on the market and find you the most suitable tariffs for your restaurant. We’ll even manage your energy supplier switch on your behalf.
Try our free online comparison tool today to get a cheaper deal for your business energy. We’ll provide you with a free quote in a matter of seconds!
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