Ruby Clarkson is a freelance writer who usually plans her day around what and when she is going to eat. Her interest in energy efficiency came from her desire to look after our planet and she is really interested in how monitoring our energy usage can have an impact on both our environment and our businesses. She believes becoming more energy efficient is something that should matter to everyone.
When owning a restaurant you’ll already have a lot to consider but something that may have slipped your mind is ensuring that it is energy efficient. Being more energy efficient will not only be good for you in terms of money saving but you can proudly say to your customers that you are trying to make a difference and do your bit towards looking after the planet. Here are 5 ways to keep your restaurant energy efficient so that everyone wins!
1. Get an EPC
An EPC (energy performance certificate) is a document that shows you how energy efficient your property or restaurant is and how energy efficient it could be if you made some changes. Having a commercial EPC done by professionals will show you how much money you could be saving, as well as what changes you need to make to save that money and be kinder to the environment. An EPC will give you an idea so that you know where to start and how much change needs to take place before you can really be seen to be making a difference. Without knowing this starting point, it will be difficult to determine if what you are doing is the right thing or not.
2. Keep Your Equipment Well Maintained
Kitchen equipment gets dirty extremely quickly and if it is not cleaned and regularly maintained, you may be asking it to work harder than it should be. This will, in turn, use more energy, and cause you to be less energy efficient. Set up a cleaning and maintenance routine so that you can be sure that all of your equipment is working at its optimum. Not only is this good for your energy usage, but it’s good practice in a restaurant kitchen too.
3. Use Less Water
It may seem strange that we have just advocated making sure that all of your equipment is clean and then go on to tell you to use less water, but it is possible to do both. Make sure when you are buying kitchen equipment that you look for items that will help you to conserve water. There is no doubt that water consumption in a restaurant is always going to be higher than a residential property but if you can mitigate that consumption somewhat, you should. You can purchase pre-rinse spray valves that use far less water than a standard tap at a sink would do, for example. You can also find energy efficient, water saving dishwashers. Search around and you will discover that these items exist and can be part of your kitchen.
4. Energy Efficient Lighting
Changing your light bulbs from standard ones to energy efficient ones will – as their name implies – make your restaurant more energy efficient. This might be something that you hadn’t wanted to consider before because you have specific lighting features, or you want particularly dim or light bulbs and you don’t feel that energy efficient bulbs can give you the options you need. The truth is, there are many different kinds of energy efficient bulbs, and there is sure to be one that suits what you need it to do. Making this switch can save a lot of energy. Plus, energy efficient bulbs last for many years so once you change the bulbs you won’t be buying any more for a long time to come, thus saving you money in the long term.
4. Decrease Heat Usage
Yes, it is going to be hot in a restaurant kitchen – it needs to be. But there are some places where you can look at potentially decreasing the heat you are using and thereby save energy. Dishwashing is one such place. The mandatory temperature for washing dishes in the foodservice industry is 140oF. Check what temperature you are currently washing dishes at, and reduce it if it is too high. Plus, if you have hand dryers in the toilet areas, make sure these are energy efficient too – if they are blowing air that is too hot it won’t make a difference to how dry your customers’ hands get but it will increase your energy consumption.
5. Shut Everything Down
It can be tempting to leave equipment on, perhaps idling or on standby, but this is a big waste of energy. If it is possible, you should always completely shut down the equipment in your restaurant when you have finished with it. This will again save you energy. If you need to preheat ovens or fryers, make sure you leave enough time to do this before service begins rather than leaving the equipment on low all night.