By Robert Cheesewright, Director of Communications at Smart Energy GB
With restaurants across the UK coping with the impact of the pandemic, reaching the moment that operation can resume at capacity is a work in progress for many people.
But with financial matters likely to take priority, it’s important efforts to be sustainable remain on the table.
So, for those looking to make a difference to their outgoings while reducing their carbon footprint, energy efficiency could be the small thing that makes a big difference in 2021.
New research has revealed five simple actions that those in the hospitality sector can do to take control of their energy bills during this difficult time.
A study of UK businesses employing less than 10 people showed that less than half of small business premises have active energy management policies, in comparison to two-thirds for large enterprises.
This is despite the fact that energy is the second highest expense such businesses estimate, plus almost four in five small business owners in the sector agreeing that having a better understanding of their energy use would give them greater control over their expenditure.
Hospitality consumes the second most energy of all small business sectors, using 19% of the total amount used by small businesses in the UK. In response, Smart Energy GB and Energy Saving Trust have compiled expert advice on how simple actions like getting a smart meter installed could help reduce energy costs.
Catering accounts for the biggest energy use in the hospitality sector (47%), so it’s important to ensure that all cooking equipment is well maintained. When purchasing new equipment, it is worth opting for energy-efficient products where possible, as well as reviewing manufacturer specifications and energy labels to compare the potential running costs of different models.
Something as simple as regular cleaning and maintenance of refrigeration systems could provide energy savings of up to 10%. You can also help with efficiency by ensuring your refrigeration equipment is placed away from sources of heat and with enough room for air to circulate around it.
3. Review your energy data
Monitoring your energy usage throughout the day doesn’t have to be a big job: check with your energy supplier whether you are eligible for a smart meter installation – it will help you to take control of your energy by allowing you to see your daily usage, helping you spot trends and helping you to pinpoint where you can make savings. Smart meters also give you accurate meter readings, ensuring that you only pay for the energy you are actually using.
Fitting low flow shower heads and aerated taps in your washrooms, you could potentially save money on both your energy and water bills, without impacting the water pressure. Low flow shower heads can save around 3p per use, which sounds trivial but quickly adds up over the year.
Something as simple as removing access lighting and using natural light whenever possible has the power to provide energy savings with zero cost; however, if you are looking to make a small investment upgrading old light fittings to LEDs could save hundreds of pounds per year, depending on the type of lighting being replaced and the number of fittings.
Smart meters are replacing traditional analogue energy meters throughout Britain, and are available for many small businesses. These clever devices help small businesses to keep better track of their energy use and give them the information they need to reduce their consumption. This in turn enables them to cut back on unnecessary use, thus helping their bottom line and the environment – in fact, 44% of small business owners who have had one installed say it has highlighted areas of spending they weren’t aware of.
If you run an eligible small business in Great Britain and your energy supplier is ready to fit your smart meter, they will arrange a date and time that is suitable for you and your business requirements. More information is available at www.smartenergygb.org.