We all know why we should save electricity: to lower our energy costs, help reduce harmful emissions and improve our operating performance. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find the time to research and choose from the most energy-efficient options, not to mention find room in the budget. The Save on Energy efficiency programs, offered by the Independent Electricity Systems Operator in conjunction with local hydro companies, can help.

From decoding your power bill to suggestions for seasonal holiday savings, the Save on Energy website has many excellent suggestions and resources for foodservice operators looking to reduce their energy use. Well worth exploring, the site offers concrete advice and inspirational examples of how businesses like yours can benefit from energy efficient practices and upgrades.

Saving on energy doesn’t have to be dramatic: it can be incremental and part of your daily routine.

Small reductions can add up to savings in both cost and power use, which is good for you, your bottom line and the environment.

1. Study your current electricity use

Examine your bills to learn not just how much your power costs, but also how much power you use. When you know how and when you use power, you can plan your strategy. Time of use is also important: shifting non-urgent tasks to off-peak hours can provide immediate results.

Save on Energy: Ten Tips to Save on Electricity

2. Switch from regular light bulbs to LED

LED bulbs use up to 75 per cent less power than regular incandescent bulbs, and last much longer. Even bulbs in fridges, stoves and hot food holding units and can be switched to LED.

3. Keep light fixtures clean and free of dust

Install dimmer switches on fixtures, and timers to automatically shut off lights in rooms that aren’t being used. Take advantage of natural light wherever possible. Remember, every small step helps.

4.  Check out the Small Business Lighting program through Save on Energy

This program provides assistance with assessment, installation, and financial incentives towards your energy-efficient lighting upgrades.

Save on Energy: Ten Tips to Save on Electricity

5. Refrigeration efficiency

Refrigeration can be one of the largest single consumers of energy in foodservice, accounting for up to 40 per cent of electricity use. Efficiency is key when it comes to reducing costs and energy. Keep coils and fans clean and dust-free, and ensure they’re kept away from heat and direct sunlight. The lower the ambient temperature near the motors, the less power they’ll need to use.

6. Add plastic strip curtains and automatic door closers to walk-in units

The Small Business Refrigeration program provided by Save on Energy can provide financial incentives to improve and fine-tune your system.

Save on Energy: Ten Tips to Save on Electricity

7. Frozen food no longer needs to be stowed at -18 degrees Celsius or lower

A recent study proved that storing frozen food at -15 degrees Celsius had no impact on food safety or quality. That three degree difference can add up to substantial energy savings.

8. Keep up with regular maintenance

Ventilation and space cooling is of major concern to foodservice operators. Balancing the needs of comfort and cooking can be tricky. A cooler ambient temperature makes refrigeration more efficient, which can be challenging during the hot summer months.  Doors and windows that are properly caulked and sealed waste less energy. Awnings, blinds and tinted window coverings can also help reduce indoor temperatures.

Save on Energy: Ten Tips to Save on Electricity

9. Close your front doors

It may seem counter-intuitive or unwelcoming, but keeping the cool inside during the summer and outside during the winter is a simple and easy way to lighten the HVAC load. If you need to retrofit from residential-style HVAC to a more efficient commercial set up, the Save on Energy Heating and Cooling program might be able to help.

10. Look for ENERGY STAR® certification Appliances

ENERGY STAR® certified products meet strict technical specifications for energy performance and are the best energy performers on the market. They can help you save energy without compromising performance in any way.

Make your changes and upgrades part of your story. Not only will you save both energy and money, but you will also connect with customers who want to support environmentally responsible and sustainable business practices.

In partnership with Restaurants Canada and the Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association, the IESO will present a half-day Save on Energy Foodservice Forum on Monday February 25th, in conjunction with the RC Show. This free half-day event will explore opportunities for energy efficiency in the foodservice sector.

Author

Chris Szego is a writer and editor who lives and works in Toronto.

  • Ivan Stephen

    It should seem obvious that reducing the use of energy would go straight to the bottom line. But a lot of restaurateurs (or malls / retailers, or banks, etc.) still do not seem to grasp the basic concept. They seem to equate exterior lighting (even during daytime) as necessary for their marketing.

    It also displays a highly unethical attitude to life in general. Why do they think that it’s acceptable to create unnecessary smog (and therefore climate change)?

    We desperately need to start thinking of “light switches” as “smog / climate change / nuclear waste” generators.