Reducing consumption and lowering utility bills at your restaurant isn’t just smart business. It’s also better for the environment and a great way to protect energy security in America. Kickstart your energy-efficiency quest with these simple and easy-to-implement restaurant energy conservation tips. 

Perform Routine Maintenance and Cleaning 

Keeping your machines working at their best starts with maintaining a diligent cleaning and maintenance schedule. Simple tasks such as cleaning refrigeration condenser coils, replacing filters, and repairing worn gaskets/seals make a real impact on how hard equipment needs to work to do its job. 

Routine maintenance isn’t just about energy savings, either. Equipment kept in peak condition will perform better and last longer. 

Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Equipment 

Restaurant owners have the option to replace commercial equipment with high-efficiency versions that use a fraction of the energy of a standard model. As an added bonus, ENERGY STAR certified equipment often qualifies for substantial rebates or incentives. 

Swap Out Incandescent Bulbs for LED or CFL 

The cost of lighting in a commercial kitchen and restaurant dining room can add up. Switching to high-efficiency LED bulbs can make a real impact on electricity consumption over the course of the year. They also have a lifespan of up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. 

If LED lighting isn’t bright enough to suit your workspace needs, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) emit more light than LEDs and are still four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. 

Install a Smart Thermostat 

A smart thermostat is a small investment that can pay big dividends. By programming space heating and air conditioning to optimize energy use, you can maintain appropriate ambient temperatures throughout your building at the lowest energy consumption levels possible. 

Many smart thermostats can be locked to prevent staff from making unauthorized adjustments. 

Other ways to leverage technology to conserve energy are using timers and/or motion control for lighting in less-used spaces and installing smart controls on equipment to turn machines off during downtime. 

Kitchen Layout Matters 

Performing a kitchen layout audit can help you identify inefficiencies in the placement of your equipment

  • Heating and cooling equipment should be placed as far apart as is possible without impacting workflow 
  • Proper ventilation space around refrigeration equipment is vital for maintaining peak cooling performance 

If physical restrictions make it difficult to allow ample space between appliances, additional kitchen exhaust hoods can be used to extract heat from the area. In addition to the range, hoods work well above dish washers and other steam equipment. 

Energy-Efficiency Training 

Even with energy-efficient equipment, cutting-edge technology and the ideal kitchen layout in place, getting your team on board with energy conservation is vital to any cost-cutting plan. 

To implement your strategy: 

  1. Develop clear and easy-to-understand energy-saving protocols 
  1. Allocate sufficient training time when onboarding new hires to cover conservation 
  1. Provide a written copy of energy-saving guidelines and rules to all employees 
  1. Post reminders at sinks and light switches and on relevant equipment 

Be sure to track energy consumption from month to month and share the results with your staff. Setting goals as a team motivates follow-through and encourages employees to remind each other to turn things off when not in use.