Energy Conservation Restaurants are the most energy intensive commercial buildings in the United States according to the Energy Information Administration. Restaurants, per square foot, consume nearly three times the energy of the average commercial building. Long hours of operation, specialized equipment and sheer demand make up much of the substantial consumption, but overall the energy consumption by foodservice buildings is excessive and often wasteful. Along the same lines, groceries are also major energy consumers among commercial buildings. Food sales buildings are the second most energy intensive buildings with around 50% of energy use going to refrigeration alone. Not surprising, the largest portion of energy use is consumed by cooking and food preparation, followed closely by heating, ventilation and cooling as a whole (HVAC). The pie graph to the right shows the average breakdown of energy use at foodservice operations.
The graphs below show energy per square foot and annual energy use in terms of cost in dollars per square foot. Utilities consume approximately 2.5 to 3.4 percent of total restaurant sales, depending on the type of operation (source: ).
While this seems like a relatively low expenditure, energy efficiency is a very cost effective measure. A $1 reduction in energy costs equals $12.50 in sales at an 8% profit margin. There is no need to increase sales, table turnover or your profit margin with efficiency.
Many energy conservation efforts require little to no cost, but major changes in habit. Most other efficiency measures demand new equipment or technology that promise returns on investment in as little time as overnight. Practices and Policies Possibly the single most important energy conservation effort is human habit. Energy efficient equipment does not save energy if it is not used correctly or properly maintained. Energy conservation must be integrated into the training and daily activities of all staff to ensure successful sustainability efforts.
Comprehensive Energy Management (CEM) A CEM program measures every watt of energy used in a facility, then implements sustainability programs or updates equipment and facilities to reduce energy consumption. Dear god chords. The first step of implementing CEM is to measure and record energy use so you can document progress and determine what measures have been most effective.
The easiest, most affordable option is to track energy bills and enter usage into a spreadsheet to compare and graph data. There is an tool on the Tools page that can compare and track electric and gas usage for multiple facilities. More comprehensive software programs like from the Energy Star program track and assess energy and water use then compare that data with other buildings in the same industry. Portfolio Manager helps compare resource costs, find effective facility improvements, compare multiple facilities and track energy management progress. The software is free and available on-line.
A more detailed and very useful option is an interval data collection system that connects to an electric or gas meter and track energy use at set, time-stamped intervals, usually every 30 minutes. These systems are very useful in that you can see energy use rise and fall throughout the day in various graphs and use that information to change practices, startup times or track down energy use problems. For example, your HVAC company recently serviced one large air conditioner, but did not properly reset the unit to your previous configuration. As a result, the unit cycles on all night, seven days a week and the next months bill is higher than average. Without a data tracking system, the only way to discover this is to be in the restaurant at some point in the middle of the night. With the data collection system, you can not only see the energy use increase the day after the HVAC company serviced the air conditioning unit, but also see each time the A/C unit cycled on overnight.
These systems provide on-line access to energy use and a range of tools for comparing and benchmarking the data. Interval data collection systems are available through many utilities and third-party companies for a monthly or one time fee. They are highly recommended for large facilities. With or without a tracking system, a CEM program looks at everything from equipment types and placement to thermostat settings, employee habits and ways to avoid peak load costs.
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