As energy and gas costs continue to rise, it is leaving businesses like cafes, restaurants, pubs, food suppliers, and accommodation providers feeling financially very strained. The good news is that UK hospitality businesses can significantly reduce their energy bills by becoming more energy efficient. Reducing energy use in your business can save you money, give you a competitive edge, create more business, and even help the environment also.
Measure your current energy use
First, it is important to understand where your business is using the most energy, so you can find ways to reduce and save. In the UK hospitality industry, common areas that use the most energy are cooking; heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC); dishwashing; lighting; and refrigeration and cool rooms. By making these processes more efficient, businesses can save themselves a considerable amount of money.
Ways to reduce energy costs
There are numerous different ways in which businesses operating within the UK hospitality industry can reduce their energy costs. Some of these are discussed below:
- Install timers to appliances – Timers can take the effort out of training staff to manually switch appliances off overnight. Use timers to switch off appliances like coffee machines, sandwich presses, hot bain maries, and fridges for drinks and nonperishable items.
- Upgrade and maintain your refrigeration equipment – Upgrading your old refrigeration equipment to more energy-efficient ones can decrease your energy use and significantly help the environment too. When upgrading your equipment, look out for the energy rating label as this will show you which ones are the best models to invest in. It helps to regularly maintain your refrigeration, look for coil cleanliness, cycle times, refrigerant levels, the function of fan and motors, refrigerant pressure settings, correct temperature settings, and refrigerant leaks.
- Use and maintain cooking equipment more efficiently – Ways to reduce energy in your kitchen area using an induction cooktop instead of gas; delaying turning on appliances, such as sandwich presses, salamander grills, and coffee machines; turning off appliances at night or when you are not busy; turning off fridges for drinks and nonperishables items overnight; cooking in bulk, freeze food and use a microwave to reheat, where possible. Whilst gas appliances are usually much cheaper to run, they are also much less energy efficient compared to induction cooktops. Gas cooking releases more heat into the air, requiring increased ventilation and cooling. To increase the efficiency of your oven do not preheat more than you need, do not open the door unnecessarily, keep the window clean so you can see inside, check the oven door seals and hinges are working, cook multiple things at once, use a smaller oven when it is not busy, and use a microwave instead, if at all possible.
- Use dishwashers more efficiently – Dishwashers can consume a large portion of hospitality businesses’ energy because they use a large amount of energy to heat the water up. In order to increase the efficiency of your dishwasher, make sure you only use dishwashers when full, turn off dishwashers overnight when you are not busy and as soon as you do not need them, regularly maintain (looking for things such as leaks and unclean filters), and use low energy mode (if they are available).
- Upgrade to LED lighting – LED lighting is more than 60 percent more efficient than fluorescent and halogen lighting. LED lighting also needs less maintenance and has a much greater lifespan. The technology has really advanced over recent years now and LED lighting now comes in a range of shapes and sizes, making them perfect for the UK hospitality industry.
- Manage heating and air conditioning more efficiently – Managing the way you heat and cool your space can reduce your energy bill by as much as 50 percent. Especially for hospitality businesses, such as cafes and restaurants, that need to cool down a hot kitchen. Set the thermostat to 24 degrees Celsius in summer and 20 degrees Celsius in winter for the best energy saving. One degree higher or lower can add anywhere between 5 percent to 10 percent to your heating and cooling bill. Limit heat entry or loss through the use of draught-proofing, insulation, shading, and window tinting.
- Invest in renewable energy – You can switch to renewable energy by investing in solar PV (photovoltaics) and asking your energy provider about renewable options. There is lot of technology available for this purpose nowadays which may suit your particular hospitality business well.
To get the most competitive deal for renewable energy, compare electricity and gas providers on the Utility Bidder website.
What else can you do?
The above is by no means an exhaustive list of everything that businesses operating within the UK hospitality industry can do in order to reduce their energy costs. Some of the other types of things that they can do include the following things:
- Reduce food waste – The average hospitality business throws away more than 100 kilograms (kg) of food each and every week. Half of which could have been prevented if properly managed. But it is not just about wasting food. It is also a huge waste of money, time, and resources, and it all ends up piled up in landfill sites throughout the country, creating harmful greenhouse gasses as it breaks down.
- Get an energy audit performed – Hire a professional energy consultant to review your current energy bills and the way that your business operates. They will identify where you are losing energy and what you can do about it.
- Get recommendations for an energy upgrade project – There are professional and/or websites out there that can recommend the available opportunities and funding options that are open to UK hospitality businesses, and calculate return on investment (ROI) for your business.
- Upgrade equipment at a discount – You may be eligible for discounted energy-efficiency products and services, through the Victorian Energy Upgrade program. To get started, contact an accredited provider. Then, you can pay for the remaining cost with energy-specific finance.