Commercial restaurants can be incredibly energy-intensive, with high electricity bills and a significant carbon footprint. However, many energy-saving options can help restaurants save money and reduce their environmental impact. This article will explore some of the most effective energy-saving options for commercial restaurants.
1. LED Lighting
LED lighting is a popular choice for energy-efficient lighting in commercial restaurants. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, LEDs use up to 80% less energy, last much longer, and produce less heat. LED lighting is also available in a range of colours and brightness levels, making it easy to create a welcoming atmosphere in your restaurant.
Of course, there is far more to lighting than the least expensive solution. Lighting in a restaurant is crucial in creating the atmosphere, usability and even drama of the space.
2. Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can account for a significant portion of a restaurant’s energy use. Upgrading to energy-efficient HVAC systems can help restaurants save money on heating and cooling costs. Newer HVAC systems are designed to use less energy, and many offer features like programmable thermostats, which allow restaurants to adjust the temperature based on their occupancy and usage patterns.
3. Energy-Efficient Kitchen Equipment
Commercial kitchens are energy-intensive environments, with ovens, fryers, refrigerators, and other equipment using large amounts of energy. Upgrading to energy-efficient kitchen equipment can help restaurants save money on their energy bills. Newer equipment is designed to use less energy while still providing the same level of performance. Additionally, restaurants can consider replacing old, inefficient equipment with ENERGY STAR-certified models designed to meet strict energy-efficiency standards.
New styles of cooking can also be adopted such as slow cookers and batch cooking where feasible.
4. Solar Panels
Installing solar panels is an effective way for commercial restaurants to generate their own electricity and reduce their reliance on the grid. Solar panels work by converting sunlight into electricity and can be installed on the roof or in a nearby location. While the initial installation cost can be high, the long-term savings can be significant. Additionally, many states and municipalities offer tax credits and other incentives for businesses that install solar panels.
5. Smart Building Automation Systems
Smart building automation systems use sensors and other technology to optimize energy usage in commercial buildings. These systems can automatically adjust lighting, heating, and cooling based on occupancy and usage patterns, and can help restaurants save money on their energy bills. Additionally, smart building automation systems can help to identify areas of inefficiency and waste, allowing restaurants to make targeted improvements and reduce their overall energy consumption.
This article has interesting comments about energy bills:
Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by 72Point on behalf of Uswitch for Business. This was an online poll of 100 restaurant decision makers in the UK. The research was conducted between 2nd and 7th Feb, 2023.
1. Respondents were asked ‘What percentage of your business’s total expenditure is made up by energy bills’, 35% said ‘20-29%’
2. Respondents were asked ‘What actions are the business that you work for taking to deal with rising energy costs, if anything?, 13% said ‘reducing portion sizes’, 31% said ‘turning off, down or restrict air-conditioning or heating’, 16% said ‘cutting down the size of the menu’, and 7% considered said they were ‘considering/introduced candle lit meals to save on electricity’, 10% said ‘moving the menu away from meat dishes’, 31% said ‘training all staff in energy efficiency measures’, 30% said ‘only running a dishwasher when it is full’, 22% said ‘closing the business during quieter times of the week’
3. Respondents were asked ‘Which, if any, of the following statements apply to you?’, 20% said ‘I have had to raise prices to keep up with bills, including energy bills’
4. Respondents were asked ‘If the costs/expenditure of the business you work at continues to rise, which, if any, of the following do you believe could happen to the business’, 21% said ‘it may not be able to pay bills on time’, 19% said ‘it might have to downsize’, 18% said ‘it may have to make staff redundant’
5. Respondents were asked ‘Is your business currently operating at the expected capacity compared to what was anticipated this time last year?’, 30% said ‘it is operating at a lower capacity than this time last year’
6. Respondents were asked ‘At what capacity (i.e., proportion of seats taken/ rate of production) the business you work at currently operating at?’, the average capacity was 60%
7. Respondents were asked ‘What are your biggest concerns for your business in 2023?’, 63% said ‘energy bills’, 30% said ‘rent costs’, 27% said ‘retaining customers’, 26% said ‘product inflation’
8. Respondents were asked ‘Which, if any, of the following statements apply to you’, 20% said ‘I have had to raise prices to keep up with bills, including energy bills’
9. Respondents were asked ‘Thinking about the coming year (i.e., 2023), do you expect the costs/expenditure of the business you work at to be higher or lower compared to the previous year (i.e., 2022), 27% said ‘much higher costs/expenditures’, and 44% said ‘somewhat higher costs/expenditures’
In conclusion, many energy-saving options are available for commercial restaurants that can help save money and reduce their environmental impact. By investing in LED lighting, energy-efficient HVAC systems and kitchen equipment, solar panels, and smart building automation systems, restaurants can positively impact the environment while improving their bottom line.