How to Make a Restaurant More Energy Efficient

Seven tips to save on energy bills

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, restaurants and other food service buildings consume more energy per square foot than any other type of commercial building.

For restaurant owners and managers, this stat is likely no surprise – after all, the average monthly cost to run just one cooler can range from $70 to $150 or more. That’s before counting the cost to run ovens, lighting, HVAC systems and everything else.

Restaurant energy efficiency is crucial for keeping monthly expenses lower and more manageable. Saving energy in a commercial kitchen and eatery isn’t easy, but if you’re looking to cut down on your restaurant’s energy bills, here are seven tips to help you get started.

Use energy-efficient lighting

According to ENERGY STAR, lighting accounts for around 13 percent of a restaurant’s energy usage. ENERGY STAR-certified lightbulbs can help your restaurant use at least 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.

What does the ENERGY STAR certification mean?

ENERGY STAR-certified products are those that meet the energy efficiency requirements set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These efficiency requirements aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants by cutting energy usage.

Owners can purchase a variety of ENERGY STAR-certified products to improve their restaurant’s energy efficiency, including lightbulbs, cooking equipment, refrigeration systems and more.

Learn more about how a product earns an ENERGY STAR label.

Install occupancy sensors

Why waste money lighting an empty area? Occupancy sensors are a brilliant way to reduce energy consumption in a restaurant, especially in restroom or break room areas.

In fact, a study conducted by the EPA found that occupancy sensors can reduce commercial energy waste by nearly 70 percent, and increase energy savings by as much as 60 percent.

Upgrade to energy-efficient equipment

Commercial kitchens are notorious energy hogs in restaurants. In fact, 41 percent of all energy use in restaurants comes from refrigeration and food preparation alone. If you’re looking to save energy in your commercial kitchen, switching to ENERGY STAR food service equipment can help in a major way.

Pro Tip: You can also search for commercial ENERGY STAR rebates in your area to help offset the costs of installing new equipment.

Opt for a glass-door refrigerator

Glass-door fridges and freezers allow your employees – or customers, if you have an open-access café fridge – to easily assess your inventory without having to open the doors and let all the cool air out.

ENERGY STAR-certified glass-door refrigerators can save restaurants 50% more on energy bills annually than their solid-door counterparts, while glass-door freezers can save up to 81% more on energy bills than solid-door freezers.

Perform regular maintenance

The key to saving energy in a commercial kitchen and dining space is to make sure your equipment is in good condition. Maintaining stoves, fridges, windows, doors and other facilities is the best way to ensure that your restaurant is not wasting energy.

Here are a few maintenance tasks that can help you save more on your restaurant’s energy bills:

  • Tune up HVAC equipment annually.
  • Fix seals on fridge and freezer doors.
  • Inspect stove and oven knobs to ensure there is no gas leakage.
  • Seal, fix or replace old windows/doors that may be letting conditioned air out.
  • Have lighting and electrical issues inspected and fixed as needed.
  • Replace worn-out cords to reduce electricity loss.

Install a programmable thermostat

Setting a thermostat schedule to coincide with on and off hours is a great way to lower unnecessary heating and cooling costs. Some commercial thermostats can even save your restaurant up to 50 percent in energy costs.

Programmable smart thermostats also make it easy to adjust the settings remotely, and they prevent employees from having to remember to adjust the temperature before or after service hours.

Replace air filters regularly

Replacing your air filter is incredibly important for air sanitation purposes, but can also help with your restaurant’s overall energy efficiency. Dirty air filters force your HVAC system to work much harder than it has to, costing you more on your restaurant’s energy bills.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a clogged air filter can lower an air conditioner’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent, which can make a huge difference during the hot summer months.

Choose a new energy supplier and save more on restaurant energy bills

In addition to improving your restaurant’s energy efficiency, you can save even more on electricity and natural gas bills by choosing a new energy supplier.

At Integrity Energy, we make it easier for restaurants and businesses of all sizes to save more on energy bills by connecting them with the best rates available on the market.

To find all available energy rates and options in your area, call 1-877-722-7822 or request a free quote today. One of our energy experts will reach out to you ASAP.