How to Improve Energy Efficiency in a Restaurant

Restaurants use more than twice the energy of the average commercial building per square foot. When you're trying to manage your bottom line, keeping the lid on energy costs is of utmost importance. Learning to improve energy efficiency in a restaurant will not only save you money, but protect valuable natural resources, as well.

Steps

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    Contact your local power or natural gas provider and have them conduct an energy audit, analysis or survey. This can pinpoint specific areas for improvement that you can implement over time.
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    Regularly maintain the equipment you have and follow through with speedy repairs when it breaks down. There's no doubt that your equipment will be subjected to the everyday wear-and-tear. Clean coils and replace air filters regularly for smooth operations.
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    Purchase energy-efficient kitchen equipment to replace older equipment in need of extensive repair. While purchasing new equipment may be more expensive than a repair, an energy-efficient model will save you more money in the long term.
    • Look for models certified by the government to be energy efficient. In the United States look for the Energy Star rating, which indicates that a product is environmentally friendly and will help consumers save money on energy costs.
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    Make sure your kitchen is ventilated properly to control smoke, grease and heat. This will help cut down on cooling costs.
    • Adding side panels to oven hoods and making sure each appliance is flush against the wall can help in kitchen ventilation.
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    Shut down equipment that you don't need to have on all the time. Leaving kitchen equipment on but idle expends energy and drives up your bill.
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    Replace light bulbs throughout your kitchen with compact fluorescent lamps. Turn off unnecessary lights or keep lights dim if possible. This can save up to 75 percent in energy and heat output.
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    Re-evaluate your menu and cooking methods to utilize the most efficient machines. For example, choose an oven over a rotisserie or a griddle over a broiler.
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    Hire a professional to install clear window film to reject outside heat as a way to keep your cooling costs low.
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    Recalibrate your temperature control mechanisms in the kitchen as they can change over time. Perform a frequent check of the thermostats of your commercial kitchen appliances and then reset them as needed.
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    Adjust pilot lights to make sure you're not using too much gas. A tall, yellow flame will indicate too much gas while a bullet-shaped blue flame will be just right.
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    Use an energy efficient programmable thermostat and set it at a constant temperature-75 for the air-conditioner and 68 for the heat during your operation hours. Use the night-time setting for additional energy savings.

Tips

  • Certain rebates or tax credits may apply with the purchase of qualified energy efficient restaurant equipment.

Warnings

  • Don't buy oversized appliances even if they are energy efficient or you'll still be paying for energy that you don't need. Have a clear picture of what capacity you need and buy based on a pounds-per-hour ratio while still looking for an energy efficient model.

Article Info

Categories: Environmental Awareness