Running a restaurant takes a lot of energy. From the kitchen appliances to lighting and heating, the energy consumption of a restaurant can add up quickly, resulting in high energy costs and a significant carbon footprint. Therefore, it’s important for restaurant owners to understand which appliances use the most energy and how to increase energy efficiency in their establishment.
What kitchen appliances consume the most energy and how can you reduce them?
- Refrigeration is one of the biggest energy consumers in any restaurant. Fridges and freezers are constantly running, making it crucial to ensure they are energy efficient. According to the UK Department of Energy, commercial refrigeration units can use up to 17,000 kWh of energy per year, so one way to reduce usage is by investing in energy-efficient refrigeration units that use less energy.
- Lighting is another area where restaurants can save energy. Restaurants need bright lighting to create a welcoming atmosphere, but this can come at a high cost. Traditional incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy and need to be replaced frequently, so switching to LED bulbs is a cost-effective solution that uses less energy and lasts longer.
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are also energy-intensive. Restaurants need to maintain a comfortable temperature for their customers and staff, which means heating or cooling their establishment. However, HVAC systems can be a significant source of energy waste. By upgrading to energy-efficient HVAC systems and regularly maintaining them, restaurants can significantly reduce their energy bill.
- Kitchen appliances are the primary energy consumers in a restaurant, making it important to invest in energy-efficient products. For example, gas ovens are more energy-efficient than electric ovens, and induction cooktops use significantly less energy than traditional gas burners.
- Additionally, kitchen staff can be trained to use equipment more efficiently, such as only using the dishwasher when it’s full. Restaurant owners can also save on energy by improving the energy efficiency of their building, following simple solutions like insulating walls, sealing windows, and installing energy-efficient doors can reduce energy use and save money on energy bills.
How Can You Make Your Restaurant Energy Efficient and Save Energy?
Restaurants can take several steps to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their energy consumption, which can not only save money on energy bills but also reduce their carbon footprint. Here are some ways restaurants can improve their energy efficiency:
- Upgrade to energy-efficient equipment: Investing in energy-efficient cooking and refrigeration equipment can significantly reduce energy consumption. Energy Star certified equipment can use up to 30% less energy than standard equipment.
- Optimize lighting: Switching to LED lighting and installing occupancy sensors can reduce energy consumption from lighting by up to 75%. Energy-efficient lighting can improve ambiance, staff performance and cut energy costs in restaurants. Lighting retrofits can save up to 50% of lighting energy and 10-20% of cooling energy. T8 fluorescent lamps and electronic ballasts are recommended as replacements for T12 and commodity-grade T8 lamps. LEDs are an effective option with higher efficiency, longer life, and superior control. Daylighting can also be used to reduce the need for electric light. In parking lots, LEDs, dimming and motion-sensing controls are recommended to reduce energy consumption. Motion sensors can also save energy for security lighting.
- Improve insulation: Ensuring that the restaurant is properly insulated can prevent energy loss from heating and cooling systems.
- Use programmable thermostats: Installing programmable thermostats can help regulate heating and cooling systems, and avoid unnecessary energy consumption when the restaurant is closed.
- Conduct regular maintenance: Regular maintenance of equipment such as HVAC systems, refrigerators, and ovens can improve energy efficiency and prevent breakdowns. To improve energy efficiency in restaurants, boilers can be replaced with more efficient condensing boilers that have a simple payback period of around five years and a 20% return on investment. It’s important to ensure that the replacement boilers are the right size for the required load, and installing multiple smaller units might be more appropriate. Existing boilers can also be made more efficient with stack gas heat recovery, air preheaters, water-recovery equipment, outdoor temperature controls, and pipe insulation. Boilers are more efficient when they operate at a higher capacity, so having a collection of smaller boilers can be more efficient than having one large boiler operating at lower capacity.
- Implement energy-saving practices: Training employees to turn off equipment when not in use, reducing the temperature on refrigerators during off-peak hours, and utilizing natural light can all contribute to reducing energy consumption.
Conducting an Energy Audit for Restaurants to Reduce Energy Consumption
Conducting an energy audit is a critical first step in identifying the areas where your restaurant is wasting energy and where you can make improvements to reduce consumption and costs. Here are some steps to conduct an energy audit for restaurants:
- Gather Energy Data: Start by gathering data on your energy usage, utility bills, and other relevant data such as number of customers, seating capacity, and hours of operation. You can use this data to calculate your restaurant’s energy usage and identify areas of high energy consumption.
- Walk-Through Inspection: Conduct a walk-through inspection of your restaurant to identify energy waste and inefficiencies. Look for areas where energy is being wasted, such as open refrigeration cases, poorly insulated walls, and windows, inefficient lighting, or improperly maintained HVAC systems.
- Equipment Inspection: Inspect all of the equipment in your restaurant to ensure it is functioning correctly and is energy efficient. Check refrigeration units, dishwashers, ovens, and other kitchen equipment to ensure they are running efficiently.
- Analyse Data and Identify Opportunities: Use the data you’ve collected and the results of your inspections to identify areas where your restaurant can make energy-efficient upgrades. You can also compare your energy usage with similar restaurants to identify areas where you may be using more energy than necessary.
- Develop an Energy Efficiency Plan: Develop a plan to make energy-efficient upgrades to your restaurant. This could include upgrading lighting to LED, replacing old appliances with energy-efficient models, installing motion sensors to turn off lights when they are not in use, and improving insulation and sealing to reduce air leaks.
- Implement Changes and Monitor Results: Implement the changes outlined in your energy efficiency plan and monitor your energy consumption and costs to determine if the changes are having a positive impact. You may need to make adjustments or additional changes to achieve your desired energy savings.
How much energy does the average restaurant consume annually?
The amount of energy a restaurant uses in the UK varies widely depending on factors such as the size of the restaurant, the type of equipment used, the level of energy efficiency, and the number of hours of operation.
However, according to a report by the Carbon Trust, restaurants and catering businesses in the UK consume an estimated 21,000 GWh of energy per year, which accounts for approximately 2.5% of the UK’s total energy consumption.
Unfortunately, the report does not provide a breakdown of energy consumption by restaurant size, so it is difficult to provide specific figures for small, medium, and large restaurants.
That being said, it’s safe to assume that larger restaurants with more equipment and longer hours of operation will consume more energy than smaller restaurants with fewer pieces of equipment and shorter hours of operation.