Energy efficiency in food preparation and catering
Food preparation businesses have big overheads from energy in their overall costs, so careful planning and simple steps could help you with more budget certainty. Some kitchens waste as much as 60% of the energy consumed through heat loss dispersed from the cooking process.
By lowering your fixed costs, you could improve bottom line results and demonstrate that you care for the environment at the same time.
Being proactive about energy efficiency measures and taking steps to reduce your consumption could result in bills that are 18-25% lower, usually getting your money back in less than 18 months.
Who is this for?
Delis and cafes
Simple no cost changes
A little goes a long way: £500/year worth of savings over 3 years would make the same profit as a 5% margin from £30,000 of extra sales.
Straightforward low-cost changes
Cost per lamp: LEDs vs CFLs vs halogens
|Watts (equivalent lamps)||6W||11W||35W|
|Purchase per lamp||£6.00||£3.50||£2.00|
|Typical annual lamp use (hours)||1,000h||1,000h||1,000h|
|Typical lamp lifetime (in hours)||30,000h||10,000h||2,000h|
|Typical lamp lifetime (years)||30 years||10 years||2 years|
|Cost of lamp purchases over 30 years||£6.00||£10.50||£30.00|
|Annual energy consumption per lamp||6kW||11kW||35kW|
|Annual electricity cost per lamp at 14.05/kW||£0.84||£1.55||£4.92|
|Total cost per lamp per year (Averaged over a typical LED malp life - 30 years)||£1.04 per year||£1.90 per year||£5.92 per year|
*Data from the Energy Saving Trust's "Selecting low energy lighting" guide.
Long-term savings from the right investments
For larger savings from energy efficiency you might need to spend some money upfront, especially when you’re planning refurbishment already.
Consider investing in automated sensors which turn off after a time of having no pan on the hob and you could save up to 5%.
When investing in new equipment, consider getting:
- Induction hobs which transfer the heat immediately to the pan and are 15%-50% more efficient than conventional gas or electric hobs.
- Combi-steam/convection ovens which are 25-50% more efficient than other cooking appliances such as electric hobs. Some of them also use waste heat to preheat water, saving a further 16-30% of energy.
- Microwave ovens need no preheating and consume little energy when not in use. Ideal for fast operations – reheating, defrosting and cooking small quantities of food.
- Make sure the deep fat fryers you invest in are energy efficient as the difference could be as high as 50% more energy use. They should reach cooking temperature in 10-12 minutes or less, allow oil to be easily filtered and require less of it.
- Use griddles as opposed to grills because they lose less heat and require less extraction.
- Keep in mind energy costs over the lifetime of the equipment, not just the upfront cost.
If your needs vary, opt for two smaller machines rather than one large one because running a dishwasher at half of its capacity is inefficient.
Install heat recovery condenser devices in large machines to reduce their consumption by up to 25%.
Start by making a note of your current consumption.
By default, your smart meter will record consumption data in 30-minute intervals. You can use this starting point as a benchmark.
Do you notice any variations during the year?
Make a note of them and think about what could cause them. For example, if your business is affected by the weather, you could save energy by investing in better insulation and save money in the long term.
Benchmark your current energy use
How does it compare to last year or last season? Make sure you analyse similar time periods (for example, December 2018 with December 2019) to make sure the improvement in efficiency isn’t influenced by other factors.
How much are you going to reduce your consumption by?
Set a realistic goal and a target date of when you’ll measure consumption again to track how you’re doing.
Choose the steps you’ll take to achieve those goals
Use the categories above to put advice into practice and involve your employees. To motivate staff, try to make it into a competition. Why not offer a free meal out to the team that comes up with the most energy saving ideas or commit to donating the savings to a local charity that they choose?
Make the changes and measure the results
Communicate all improvements with your staff, no matter how small, to encourage an energy efficient state of mind. And when you're ready to make more changes to become energy efficient, come back to this action plan and start again.
The facts, figures and advice have been sourced from the Carbon Trust, Energy Trust and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (formerly known as the Department of Energy and Climate Change).