If you’re in the food industry, utility expenses can really make a big dent out of the monthly budget. Studies shows that restaurants, bars and cafés actually use 5-7 times more energy than a regular office building. If you’re in this predicament, fear no more. Here are some tips to help you save big in energy consumption and make your business more profitable.
Tip # 1 – Regularly Monitor and Maintain your Refrigeration Equipment
This is highly essential to your business. According to research conducted by the Department of Energy, refrigeration equipment eats up 15% of your total electricity usage, in part because they must constantly run. But with regular maintenance and monitoring performance, this will not only increase the lifespan of the equipment, it will also increase energy efficiency. Things to maintain include:
- Door seals, gaskets and auto closers
- Refrigerant charge
- Condenser Coils
- Airflow around heat exchange coils
In addition, having an automated system that monitors temperature levels, doors and metering will no doubt be convenient and could help you save thousands of dollars on your electric costs per year. Companies like GridPoint can provide business owners with systems that allow them to remotely monitor and control just about everything that uses electricity.
Tip # 2 – Setting Coolers to the Right Temperatures
Commercial refrigerators and freezers can use anywhere from 17,000 to 38,000 kilowatt hours per year. Every degree higher you set the temperature, saves tens if not hundreds of additional dollars in annual electric costs. Typically refrigerators are set to 35-38° F, and freezers are set between -8° and -14° F. Another way to lower the electrical costs is to set the defroster to activate for only 15 minutes, no more than four times a day.
Tip # 3 – Switch to CFL and LED Lights
Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) and LEDs are far superior compared to standard bulbs when it comes to energy efficiency. CFLs are 75% more efficient than incandescent bulbs, and LEDs are 75-80% more efficient. LEDs have been found to last 20-25 times longer than traditional lighting. They may be a little more expensive up front, but CFLs and LEDs will save you more in the long run.
Tip # 4 – Switch to Energy Star Appliances
It is best to invest in cooking equipment that has an Energy Star option. Energy Star is a government-backed program that helps us all save money and protect our environment with energy-efficient products and practices. These appliances have been tested and proven to provide superior energy efficiency compared to standard models.
Tip # 5 – Using Motion Sensor Lights
There’s no reason to have lights constantly running in a room where no one is using it on a fair amount of the time. Energy Star has estimated that lighting alone accounts for 13% of electricity usage in a restaurant. You can easily cut that percentage down by install motion activated lights in the restrooms and in walk-in coolers.
Tip # 6 – Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat is a beneficial investment. By installing a programmable thermostat, it will tailor your air conditioning (or heating) to your schedule saving you both energy and money in utility bills. You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. You can do this automatically by using a programmable thermostat and scheduling the times you turn on the heating or air conditioning.
Programmable thermostats can store multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.