Successful restaurant owners and managers are always looking for ways to improve the bottom line, and one area deserving of significant attention in that regard is energy usage. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program, restaurants use about five to seven times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.
Finding ways to conserve energy can not only improve profitability, it also helps a restaurant observe green practices that are good for the environment and increasingly appreciated by patrons. The following are a few simple steps to consider.
Take a look at your lighting. For many restaurants, one of the easiest ways to reduce energy usage is by improving the energy efficiency of lighting. Possibilities include:
- Replacing existing light fixtures with energy-efficient LED lighting
- Installing dimmers to adjust lighting based on the availability of natural light
- Installing sensors that will turn off lights automatically in areas that are not always in use—such as storage rooms and restrooms.
- Placing photocells on outdoor lighting to avoid leaving exterior lights on during the day
Keeping up with maintenance tasks can also save energy. Look for energy leaks such as worn refrigerator or freezer door seals and check thermostats on water heaters, refrigerators and other appliances regularly to see if they need to be recalibrated.
Your building’s heating and air conditioning systems are another potential source of energy leaks. Change air filters regularly and be sure to have your HVAC system checked once a year. If you don’t already have one, installing a programmable thermostat is another potential way to reduce energy consumption and save on heating and cooling costs.
Another way to save energy—and our favorite recommendation—is by installing energy-efficient hand dryers in your facility. Dryers such as our VERDEdri use only 950 watts of power and create much less environmental impact over their lifetime than the paper towels they replace. They are a great way to reduce energy consumption and your customers and employees will appreciate the quick dry time they deliver.
When it comes to fine tuning your restaurant operation for energy efficiency, small changes can add up to big savings and a positive result for the environment. It is truly a winning approach for you, your clientele and the environment.