On average, energy bills represent 30% of a buildings annual budget. Recently, energy costs have been increasing at a rate of 6-8% every year, and that rate could go up. The following steps can save you a staggering amount of money and help protect you from rapidly inflating energy costs:
- Buy energy-efficient equipment. ENERGY STAR® awards energy-efficient qualifications to a variety of commercial kitchen equipment. A typical restaurant can save up to $15,000 each year by outfitting their kitchen with energy-efficient or ENERGY STAR® qualified equipment.
- Maintain your equipment. Simple maintenance steps, like cleaning equipment, changing air filters and checking seals and gaskets regularly, can have a big impact on the energy-efficiency of your appliances. » Learn More about Commercial Restaurant Equipment Care and Repair
- Keep an eye on your air. It may seem invisible, but heating, ventilation and air conditioning accounts for about 28% of a typical restaurant’s energy expenses. To save up to $1,500 every year, invest in energy-efficient AC and hoods, as well as a programmable thermostat to turn off air when it is not needed.
- Switch to energy-efficient lighting. A simple move to more efficient lighting could mean huge savings for your business. Every single bulb you switch to fluorescent lighting saves you about $30 in energy costs over the bulb’s lifetime. » Learn More about Energy-Efficient Lighting for Your Restaurant
- Establish a start-up and shut-down schedule. Eliminate idle time for all of your appliances. Only turn on cooking and heating equipment 20 minutes before you need it. This should be enough time for most equipment to preheat. Lights, hoods, ranges, signs and fans should all be turned off when not in use.
- Conserve hot water.Saving hot water will lower two utility bills at once. Use cold water whenever possible. Insulate hot-water pipes, regularly check your water temperature and follow all the general guidelines for water conservation to save even more money.
» Learn More about Water-Saving Tips for Your Commercial Kitchen
- Retrofit your old equipment. Refrigerator strip curtains, high-efficiency evaporative fan motors, variable-speed hood fans and low-flow pre-rinse spray valves are just a few products that can add up to save you thousands of dollars every year. » Learn More about Retrofitting Your Commercial Kitchen to Save Energy
- Rearrange your kitchen. Separate your cooling equipment from your cooking equipment so your refrigerators do not have to work as hard. Group the hottest appliances, like broilers, steamers and open burners, under the same vent. » Learn More about Energy-Efficient Ventilation for the Commercial Kitchen
- Train your employees to conserve. Saving energy could be as simple as closing a refrigerator door or turning off the burner. If you do not instill in your employees the importance of energy conservation, your savings could fly straight out the window. » Learn More about Training Your Commercial Kitchen Staff to Go Green
- Get an energy assessment. Many utility companies offer free energy assessments. These can help you monitor the efficiency of each aspect of your restaurant. If you are still not sure how to proceed, you can always hire a consultant. » Learn More about Energy Assessments for the Commercial Kitchen