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10 Strategies for Reducing Energy Consumption in Restaurants

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We can agree that running a restaurant is hard work.

When you take into account overhead costs including organizational logistics, employee payroll, benefits packages, rental space, food production and transportation of raw materials, restaurant managers and owners have their work cut out for them.

The one thing many of them don’t realize is the cost of energy and efficiency in operating their restaurants.

In fact, according to statistics compiled by ENERGY STAR,

Restaurants consume five to seven times more energy per square foot than any other commercial building.High-volume quick service restaurants (QSRs), such as Burger King and Wendy’s, can use up to 10 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.Electricity usage ranks at the top, followed by lighting, then cooling.

So when you consider the different types of costs, it is extremely profitable to transition your restaurant into an energy-efficient business.

You see, by analyzing the needs of your customers and employees, you will be able to cut costs without compromising on quality and standard energy.

Depending on the size of your restaurant and facilities, this could potentially lower your energy bill by thousands of dollars every month. By resolving to use less energy this year, you make a significant contribution to your restaurant operations, company ethics, and the environment.

Here are 10 tips and changes you can implement that can add up to short and long-term savings for your business.

Steps towards Reducing Energy Consumption in Restaurants

#1 Using data analytics is one of the newest and most effective ways of saving energy and making profits.

GWT2Energy guides restaurateurs by implementing strategies that produce concrete results. Some strategies include:

Reviewing your utility bills for multi-site owners, determining any outliers and creating plans to get your sites back into the prevailing average.Utilizing energy management systems and its analytics to discover when equipment is not performing properly. This includes working with you and your service companies to correct the problem, helping to lower your operating and repair costs.Using real-time demand metering to determine when your sites are hitting their peak demand, thus, developing programs to reduce that peak with the goal of lowering your overall electric bill.

#2 Take advantage of tax incentives from the state government and rebates from public utility companies.

A list of tax credits, rebates and savings can be found on Some examples are:

Florida’s Renewable Energy Easements and Rights Laws allow easements to be created on commercial and industrial buildings for harnessing solar energy. These easements must be submitted in writing, recorded and indexed.Ohio’s net metering law requires public utility companies to offer net metering to commercial and industrial buildings that generate electricity through renewable sources such as solar, wind, and biomass.

#3 Integrating a start-up/shut-down schedule offsets energy costs.

For instance, it costs around $1.70 an hour to operate a 3-foot under-fired charbroiler. That amounts to nearly $7,344 a year.

In order to get you started, The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Program offers a free conserve toolkit.

#4 Investing in certified ENERGY STAR commercial food equipment and appliances greatly reduce your energy usage.

You can also use ENERGY STAR’s Commercial Kitchen Equipment Savings Calculator to see how much you have saved. From steam cookers and griddles to fryers and freezers, these products provide energy savings of more than 10 to 70 percent over standard models.

#5 From dining ambiance and kitchen workstations to office space and outdoor decor, lighting is needed in every part of a restaurant.

This makes lighting a major contributor toward energy costs. Yet, here are some ways to reduce its consumption:

Incorporating energy-efficient habits such as keeping outdoor lighting off during the day and switching off lights when not needed, goes a long way in cutting your energy bill.

Another idea is to replace your incandescent “EXIT” signs with LED ones. LED uses one-tenth the energy than incandescent lights and lasts 50 times longer.Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are a great energy-saving alternative to outdated incandescent lights. CFLs can also be paired with compatible dimming technology to cut back on excessive lighting.T8 lamps and electronic ballasts can decrease your lighting bill by 35 percent.

#6 Many air-conditioning systems consist of a dampered vent known as an economizer.

This structure draws in cool air from outside to reduce the need to mechanically cool air. An economizer jammed in the open position brings in cold air during the winter and hot air during the summer. This can increase your energy bill by 50 percent.

Have a licensed technician inspect, clean and lubricate your economizer once a year.

#7 Optimizing the temperature of your water heater is another energy-saving tip.

Health code mandates require temperatures at hand sinks to be 120 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees at dish machines.

By setting the temperature accordingly, you will be saving hundreds of extra dollars every year.

#8 Investing in a green roof is expensive upfront.

But, in addition to providing your restaurant with a fresh supply of homegrown herbs and vegetables, it also provides other long-term benefits. Green roofs prolong the lifespan of your roof by trapping storm-water which is used by the plants.

They also insulate your restaurant by absorbing sunlight, thus keeping it cool in summers and warm in winters.

In addition, green roofs increase sound insulation by 50 percent.

#9 Another long-term solution is commissioning.

This process involves engineers coming in to inspect your commercial space, and performing a tune-up to ensure all your systems are running efficiently. It helps regulate air pressure by evaluating the airflow between the kitchen and dining areas.

Regularly monitoring your restaurant’s energy systems can produce a 10 to 15 percent reduction in energy bills.

#10 A schedule of daily, weekly, monthly and annual checks is imperative in order to keep a thorough record of all restaurant equipment.

A refrigerator, for example, uses 23% more energy when it has dirty coils, 11% more when it has a failing door seal, and a full 100% when it suffers from a refrigerant leak.

Running preventative maintenance checks is a crucial part of reducing energy waste and running a restaurant efficiently.

Reducing energy consumption for your restaurant can prove to be a cost-savings strategy for your business. For innovative energy management solutions for your restaurant, including utility review, equipment evaluation, and detailed strategic planning, please contact us. Schedule your free consultation with GWT2Energy today!

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