ENERGY EFFICIENCY: CHANGE YOUR HABITS
Consuming roughly three times the energy that other commercial businesses do, the restaurant industry sometimes struggles with energy conservation. With long hours of operation and specialized equipment, monitoring your energy consumption is a great way to cut costs.
Looking to become more energy-efficient can also have a positive impact on the bottom line, since many of these energy-saving methods cost nothing or very little. Often, all it requires is a change in habits.
The first step to running an energy-efficient restaurant is to place a sense of urgency on being green-minded in the workplace. You can share this priority with your cooks and staff by talking to them about the impact of going green, or leaving friendly reminders in places where they’ll see them. You can also create schedules for when to hit the power switch on different appliances based on your needs.
Develop the habit of tracking your energy bills and usage. This can help you better understand which aspects of your daily resources might require attention and/or repair.
Look for opportunities to create checklists and schedules to help keep you and your staff on track, like setting a specific time to start up or shut down machinery, or ensuring the lights are used on an “as needed” basis.
The largest portion of energy usage is on the cooking and food preparation side. The natural first step is to buy energy-efficient machinery, but that’s only half the battle. Make sure your equipment is frequently monitored, operated correctly, and maintained for quality functioning. Don’t wait until something stops working. For example, a refrigerator with a faulty door seal can use about 11% more energy than it should, and up to 100% more energy if it has a leak!
Set up a regular, documented cleaning and maintenance schedule to help your equipment run longer and more efficiently.
Since energy misuse can add up to a lot of money each year, here are a few more tips:
– Use the recommended thermostat set points (each degree of cooling increases energy use by 4-5%)
– Turn off exhaust hoods whenever possible
– Fully load your equipment for each use
– Purchase equipment with great insulation to better retain heat
– Don’t overload your fryer baskets, as this will increase the required cooking time
– If the machine is on idle, turn it off
– Don’t run the AC with doors and windows open
The selection and usage of your lighting can be one of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to reduce energy consumption. Lighting alone can account for roughly 11% of your energy bill and 40% of energy usage.
Make the switch from incandescent lighting to fluorescent lighting – this change can save you between 1/4 to 1/3 of the energy being used in your restaurant. As these lights don’t generate heat, you’ll also save on air-conditioning!
Turn off the lights in unoccupied areas, using dimmers during hours of operation when daylight is sufficient, or installing occupancy sensors in less-busy spaces such as closets, storage, break rooms, and customer restrooms.
Changing your habits will boost your profit line, and protect our environment.
Reach out to our Build It By Design team to learn more about your options at (905) 696-0486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.