Restaurants nationwide are increasing sustainability efforts, cutting down on energy use and reducing their environmental impact as part of the ever-expanding “green movement”—the socially responsible shift toward environmentally-friendly practices at home, at work and throughout the community. Restaurants use about 5–7 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings, such as office buildings and retail stores. High volume quick-service restaurants (QSRs) may even use up to 10 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. This intensive energy use gives the foodservice industry a unique opportunity to significantly reduce our environmental impact by making modest energy-efficiency improvements.
What does it mean to be energy efficient? By cutting down on energy use, restaurants can improve their bottom line while demonstrating their commitment to the community and the environment.
Implementing environmentally-friendly practices does not have to be difficult process. Here are three easy ways to cut down on your establishment’s energy use and save money on your energy bill:
Implement a start-up, shut-down schedule.
Reduce your energy bill without spending a dime. Many times, appliances are turned on long before they are used and left on even after they are needed. Create guidelines to define when each appliance should be turned on and turned off. Make sure to include cooking and holding equipment, as well as restroom and outdoor lighting.
Seal off unused areas.
Seal off unused areas of your building and keep exterior doors closed to reduce the energy used for heating and cooling costs. During cool weather, open window treatments and use the natural light to warm your establishment. Cool down during the warmer months by leaving the window treatments down.
Install low-watt (or no-watt) exit signs.
If your exit signs are more than six years old you could be missing out on serious energy savings. Just replacing six signs with current models can save thousands of dollars throughout their lifetime.
These energy efficiency initiatives are part of the more than 90 best practices featured in the National Restaurant Association’s ConSERVE Sustainability Education ProgramSM. Other best practices focus on topics such as water conservation, waste reduction, and building and construction. To find out more about ConSERVE and how it can benefit your operation, visit conserve.restaurant.org.
*Article courtesy of the National Restaurant Association’s ConSERVE Sustainability Education Program.