Trying to fit in an energy-saving strategy into your super busy schedule as a cafe owner? Then you’ve reached just the right place! Here are 9 simple and cost effective ways to target all those energy hogs in your kitchen and around the main cafe area.
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In the kitchen
1. Take care of that refrigerator. Refrigeration is obviously quite essential for any restaurant or cafe and it’s on 24 hours a day, which means this is the one gadget that’s likely to eat up most of your electricity. A refrigerator with at least a 4-star energy rating will be easy on the pocket in the long run and can lead to savings between 10-70 per cent compared to standard models. If you can’t replace an old model immediately, you should take care that your refrigerators and freezers are well maintained, with no leaks.
2. Watch the oven. Commercial ovens can use up a lot of power, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have an energy efficient model and it’s being used to its optimum capacity. Here are some simple tips that go a long way - don’t preheat if it’s not required, keep it clean and don’t leave the oven door open unnecessarily.
3. Cut back on hot water usage. Cafes tend to use a lot of hot water for cooking as well washing utensils so it’s useful to keep the hot water pipes insulated to reduce heat loss. Another thing you can do is check the preset temperature and consider reducing it by a couple of degrees for cutting costs.
In the main cafe area
4. Reset that thermostat. Your heating and cooling system works best when it’s set closest to the temperature outside, which is 25ºC in summer and 20ºC in winter. Every degree cooler in summer or warmer in winter can spike your power costs by as much as 10 per cent.
5. Cut on lighting costs. Lighting costs can comprise about 35 per cent of your energy usage so you should replace standard light bulbs with LEDs or CFLs because even if they do cost a little more to begin with, they last much longer and consume about 75 per cent less electricity.
6. Make your cafe more energy efficient. Fix the draughts and add door seals to the bottom of the doors to ensure you’re not losing heated or cooled air to broken windows. You can also install window tinting or external shading so the heating and cooling system doesn’t have to work extra hard.
7. Check your bills. When was the last time you looked at your energy bill? Can’t remember? Then chances are you may have completed your initial contract and the discounts you signed up for have long expired. Energy providers often roll you over to a standard plan after the fixed term is over and it’s entirely possible that you’re paying a higher tariff than you think.
8. Switch your energy provider. The next thing you should do after looking at your bill is check if you could switch to a cheaper plan. Compare the cheapest small business energy providers for your area, see who’s offering the best discounts and ongoing rates, and move over to a better account. Switching retailers can save you hundreds of dollars in a year, is quite an easy process and can be done online or over the phone in a matter of minutes. If you want to know more about switching energy providers, read our step-by-step guide here.
9. Bring your staff on board. Finally, get your staff involved in this energy saving exercise. You’ll save a lot more if everyone remembers to turn off gadgets and lights when they’re not being used.