How to Conduct an Energy Audit for Your Restaurant 

Do you ever look at your monthly energy bill for your restaurant and think, “How in the world are we using that much energy? Where is it all going?” If you have ever asked yourself those questions, you might want to consider having an energy audit for your restaurant.  

The word “audit” may cause some business owners immediately to have sweaty palms and an increase in heart rate, but there is nothing to stress over concerning an energy audit. Unlike a financial audit which comes with mountains of paperwork, an energy audit will only yield beneficial results. 

What is an energy audit? 

An energy audit for a restaurant is a systematic review of the energy consumption and efficiency of a restaurant’s equipment and operations.   

During an energy audit, an auditor will typically conduct a detailed examination of the restaurant’s equipment. Refrigerators, freezers, ovens, and lighting systems will likely be inspected to determine how efficiently they are operating. The person conducting the audit may also review the restaurant’s energy bills to identify patterns of energy use and to determine how much energy is being consumed by different systems.  

After gathering data and analyzing the restaurant’s energy use, the auditor will have a complete picture of the restaurant’s energy use. A report and recommendations can then be given to help the restaurant use energy more efficiently.

Is an energy audit worth the hassle? 

Spending all that time reviewing bills and inspecting equipment is no walk in the park. You may be thinking, “Is it worth it?”  

 In short, the answer is “Absolutely.”  

The exact amount a restaurant owner may save by following recommendations from an energy audit varies and depends upon a variety of factors, but the average commercial building saves 10-30% on energy costs through implanting the measures identified in an energy audit, according to the US Department of Energy. In some cases, energy audits have identified cost-saving opportunities that have resulted in savings of 50% or more on energy bills. 

Is it required? 

Some states and individual cities do have policies in place that require certain energy standards to be met, but these vary depending on location. Generally, energy audits are not required by law, but some state and local governments do offer incentives for businesses to implement energy audits and more efficient energy practices.  

Even though it may not be required of them, many restaurant owners choose to conduct an energy audit voluntarily after understanding the economic and environmental benefits. 

 Who can conduct an energy audit? 

In places where energy audits are not required, anyone can conduct one. Some restaurant owners even choose to conduct one for themselves. However, it is important to note that energy audits conducted by trained professionals are likely to yield more accurate and thorough results.   

One helpful way to consider an energy audit is to compare it to a financial investment plan. Anyone can invest their own money however they choose, but the results might not be ideal if that person doesn’t have a solid grasp on investing. A trained financial consultant, on the other hand, would probably be able to invest that same amount of money and yield much better results due to their experience and knowledge. In the same way, a professional auditor is likely to yield better results for someone looking to improve their energy efficiency.  

When considering your options for an energy audit, be sure to choose an auditor who will give your restaurant the thorough inspection it deserves. A good auditor will not only provide comprehensive data concerning the restaurant’s energy consumption, but the auditor will also give a return-on-investment analysis for each energy-saving measure suggested. A benchmark report should also be provided so that you can compare your energy use to similar restaurants and industry standards. 

Closing thoughts 

Whether it is done by yourself or by a qualified energy professional, conducting an energy audit is a valuable tool for improving energy efficiency, reducing costs, and promoting sustainability in your restaurant. Have confidence in your restaurant’s expenses and know exactly where your dollars are going by conducting an energy audit today.  

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