Running an efficient and sustainable restaurant, café or other commercial kitchen has never been more important. Oil and gas prices remain unpredictable and the threat of climate change is compelling both the government and industries to change legislation. In many cases, this will result in rising prices over the long term.
Increasing energy efficiency in the competitive hospitality sector is an important way to future-proof your business. At Business Energy we are dedicated to helping our business customers get the best deal on their commercial energy agreements.
However, we don’t stop there. We are supporting businesses across the UK to reduce their energy consumption. Why? Because it can save businesses thousands of pounds every year, and we want the UK hospitality industry to thrive.
For companies operating commercial kitchens in the hospitality industry, read on to explore some of the ways you can reduce your operating costs and save energy. Energy efficiency is one of the critical steps in addressing climate change and will reduce the emissions your company emits.
How to be more energy efficient in a commercial kitchen
The best way to start to identify where you can make energy savings is to do a brief energy audit of your kitchen. This might sound like a lot of work, but it’s quite a simple process. It just means taking some time to map where power is typically used in your kitchen and when and how it is wasted.
Asking staff to contribute to this process will ensure that you focus on the areas where you can make the most savings.
You should also review your recent electricity and gas bills, to get a measure of how much energy you are currently using. As you start to implement energy saving measures, you can then track the savings that you make.
Once you have a plan, make sure it is communicated to your staff and targets are set. Encourage staff to make sure of timers and label equipment that can be unplugged when not in use to reduce so-called ‘vampire power’.
Many appliances continue to draw electricity from the socket even when not in use. Provide training and signage in appropriate places to prompt staff to adhere to your new processes.
Of course, ensuring that you are on the right business energy tariff is an essential component for keeping your commercial energy bills low. If you haven’t switched in the last twelve months, you are likely overpaying for the energy your business uses.
Business Energy can help you switch to an affordable and green energy tariff. You can start your switch by comparing energy prices with our experts today.
Investing in energy-efficient commercial kitchen appliances is a guaranteed way to reduce your energy consumption without changing the behaviour of your staff and how your kitchen operates.
This is especially true with large items like fridges and freezers. Refrigeration and freezing make up 30% of energy usage in an average commercial kitchen. Switching to energy-efficient appliances which use less power is a sensible move.
Once it is time to replace items, make sure you factor in energy efficiency ratings. A more expensive but more efficient appliance will save you more money in the long term. Energy Star commercial kitchen equipment (originating from America) or EU energy labels are the certifications which inform you of the energy efficiency of appliances.
Beyond kitchen equipment, lighting is another significant drain on electricity in a commercial kitchen. Of course, ensuring the lights are turned off when the kitchen closes can be a big plus. If you haven’t already done so, switch to LED lighting. It offers brighter power whilst using up to 70% less electricity than standard incandescent bulbs.
Maintenance and cleaning
Investment in new equipment for a commercial kitchen is not the only way to reduce energy consumption. Making sure your commercial kitchen is clean and equipment is well maintained impacts on efficiency, especially in and around ovens and condensing coils on refrigerators.
If someone reports a leak or damage to an appliance which will impact efficiency, make sure this is addressed as quickly as possible. For example, if there are complaints that hot water is slow this may be a sign of problems with your boiler or pipes.
Investing in an annual service of the heating system can improve efficiency by up to 15%. Another common problem that is often overlooked is wear and tear to refrigerator and freezer doors. If they are not closing properly, they need to work harder to keep food cold. Repairing them is often inexpensive and will result in savings to your electricity bills.
Ask your kitchen staff to reflect on the layout of your kitchen. For instance, if the freezers are next to the cookers in your kitchen, they will need to work harder and therefore use more energy to keep food at a cool temperature. Moving them to a less hot location in the kitchen can therefore reduce your electricity bills.
Control the temperature
Keeping the temperature bearable for staff is an ongoing problem for commercial kitchens. Premises that feature poor ventilation and insulation can cause a serious headache. Of course, investment in improved ventilation systems will reduce this, but in rented premises your options may be limited.
Investing in smart energy controls can at least make sure that your staff are able to respond to climatic changes in real time and focussed on specific spaces, thereby improving efficiency.
Avoid water waste
As well as energy, water is another key waste point in a commercial kitchen which also has a cost for your business. Investing in water saving devices over taps can reduce water draining away without being used.
As important though is to instigate behavioural changes in your staff. For example, dishwashers use a lot of water, as well as electricity. If staff ensure they are full before they are switched one, you will see your energy bills fall. Equally, ensuring staff are mindful of water waste as they look to defrost food, or wash dishes by hand can make a big difference. Putting up signs to remind staff on key changes you would like to see will hopefully keep them motivated.
Finding a great value commercial water contract is another way to reduce your water bills.