A guide for restaurant energy efficiency

28 September 2015

In the food and catering industry, energy consumption has always been high. In fact, research has found that commercial kitchens can use up to ten times the amount of energy used by average commercial buildings. It is estimated that the UK catering industry as a whole consumes around 20,600 million kWh of energy each year.

However, many kitchens are wasting huge amounts of energy every day and increasing energy efficiency is quickly becoming a priority for more and more restaurants around the country.

The importance of energy efficiency

As well as reducing your carbon footprint, making changes to become more energy efficient can provide a variety of different benefits to restaurants.

First and foremost, making some small changes to increase energy efficiency can provide significant financial savings. It is estimated that in a traditional English restaurant, 23 pence is spent on energy for each meal that is cooked, with this figure rising to 33 pence per meal for high class restaurants and 45 pence per meal for hotel restaurants. While these figures may seem small on their own, they can soon add up. With moderate improvements in efficiency, restaurants could make savings of as much as 20%.

 Average energy costs per cooked meal

(Source: Food preparation and catering, Carbon Trust, 2012)

Diners are becoming much more concerned with energy efficiency in all aspects of their lives, with one in ten listing it as the most important issue restaurants should be focussing on. As well as saving money on energy consumption, increasing efficiency can also help improve a restaurant’s reputation, leading to an increase in customer numbers and in turn, profits.

Around three quarters of the energy used in catering comes from in the storage, preparation and cooking of food, and a large proportion of this is wasted through inefficient working practices and bad habits. In making your kitchen more energy efficient you will also be improving the overall efficiency of your business, which in itself can offer an entirely different list of benefits.

 Catering energy consumption by end use

(Source: Food preparation and catering, Carbon Trust, 2012)

6 tips for improving restaurant energy efficiency

The first step in improving energy efficiency is understanding your current energy consumption, focussing on where you are wasting energy and identifying areas for improvement. The following are some simple changes you can make to start improving your energy efficiency.

1. Turn the temperature down

Heating can account for up to 60% of a restaurant’s total energy costs, and is a key area where energy is being wasted. Reducing the temperature in a restaurant by as little as 1°C can take almost 10% off your overall energy bills, and is unlikely to be noticeable to diners.

For the kitchen, restaurant owners can fit thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) to increase temperature control. TRVs measure the temperature in the air and automatically reduce the heat output as the kitchen fills with heat from staff and food preparation.

 reducing temperature can save on energy bills

2. Introduce energy efficient lighting

Lighting is another area that many businesses find themselves wasting energy and money on – up to 25% of total electricity costs come from lighting. By replacing standard tungsten bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, restaurants can reduce consumption by up to 80%. Compact fluorescent lights also last up to eight times longer than tungsten bulbs.

For stockrooms, bathrooms and other areas that are not constantly occupied, introducing occupancy sensors that ensure lights only come on when somebody enters the room is another way to reduce energy usage by up to 30%.

3. Upgrade your insulation

Just like in the home, loss of heat through poor insulation is a major energy issue for restaurants. Replacing your standard windows with double glazing and ensuring your walls and roof are properly insulated can cut back on heat loss, further improving energy efficiency. 

4. Understand storage temperature codes

In a restaurant, refrigerators will need to be constantly switched on, to ensure food is stored safely. However, this can use a significant amount of energy, bringing with it a significant cost. By understanding the requirements for safe storage of food, restaurants can begin to use their refrigerators more efficiently, reducing energy usage and saving money.

 Food storage temperature codes

(Source: Food preparation and catering, Carbon Trust, 2012)

5. Ensure your equipment is properly maintained

By making sure all of your kitchen equipment is regularly maintained, you can ensure it is all working efficiently, reducing the chance of energy being wasted. A regularly serviced boiler, for example, can reduce your annual heating costs by as much as 10%.


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6. Encourage employee participation

To truly succeed in improving energy efficiency, employees at all levels must be involved. It is possible to save upwards of 15% just through adopting good housekeeping measures. Make sure staff switch off lights and equipment when not in use and make sure heating and hot water are kept at the correct temperatures. Some organisations will assign certain roles to individuals, giving them the responsibility of making sure specific targets are met.

Thinking about switching your business energy provider?

In trying to become more energy efficient, many businesses discover that not only are they wasting energy, but they are also overpaying for the energy they are currently using. This can often be one of the main reasons businesses have for wanting to switch energy providers. Before making a decision, however, there are a few questions you should be asking.

1. How easy will it be to switch?

Sometimes, the complexity of the process can deter businesses from switching their energy provider; they decide it is simpler to just stay where they are, even if this means they aren’t getting the best deal. At Gazprom Energy, we make it easy to switch in just four simple steps. In a recent survey, our small and medium sized customers said they were 85% satisfied with their overall switching experience.

2. Will I receive automated meter readings?

Automated Meter Reading (AMR) technology offers a range of advantages to small businesses. By tracking your energy usage and transmitting this information to your energy provider, you can guarantee that your bills are accurate and you aren’t being overcharged. AMRs also provide convenience, as you don’t need to waste time manually checking and submitting your meter readings.

AMRs and smart meters

3. How can I access my account?

When you’re running a business, efficiency is everything; you want to save time wherever you can. With Gazprom Energy, you can access your account online 24/7, so whether you want to submit meter readings, view your historic consumption, check invoices or anything else, you can do this easily at a time that suits you.

4. What mix of fuels is used?

More and more businesses are now becoming concerned with where the energy they use comes from. At Gazprom Energy, our fuel mix features 58.4% renewables, well above the UK average of 16.7%, and one of the highest on the market.

If your business energy contract is coming up for renewal, why not make the switch to Gazprom Energy? With our simple 5 step switching process, you could be just a few clicks away from your next energy deal. To find out more, give the Gazprom Energy team a call today on 0161 837 3395 or visit our contact us page.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third-party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.


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