The highs and lows of energy costs vs energy savings, and some balancing incentives
With energy prices at an all-time high, it is becoming increasingly important for restaurants to take a closer look at their energy-saving methods and technologies.
Businesses are responsible for producing almost half of the UK's carbon-dioxide emissions. This, along with other health and safety and environmental concerns, has prompted legislation, such as the Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 and F-Gas Regulations 2006, which could penalise businesses that do not make maintenance and energy efficiency central to their thinking.
Businesses can be encouraged to invest in energy-saving plans, through schemes, such as the Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA) scheme, which is part of the government's programme to manage climate change. This offers tax breaks of 100 per cent capital allowance in the first year to businesses that invest in energysaving technologies and products.
The Heating and Ventilation Contractors' Association (HVCA) is pushing for restaurants to take a closer look at their heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration equipment and catering facilities, and either invest in new, more energy-efficient equipment or find ways to save energy. Robert Higgs, Chief Executive of the HVCA, commented, "There is no down side to using energy more efficiently in your business and the commercial benefits are obvious."
Bob Towse, Sustainability and Technical Manager at HVCA, added, "If you look at energy in a typical kitchen there are lots ways that you can improve the energy efficiency of your restaurant even before you get into spending new equipment."
Towse has the following advice for restaurateurs:
- Train and brief staff on how to use equipment in an energy-efficient way.
- Install smart metering, which gives minute-byminute feedback on your energy use and helps you measure the savings you are making.
- Properly maintain current cooking and ventilation equipment or invest in more energy-efficient equipment.
- Leave equipment on when you don't need it. So when you switch the lights off, ensure everything else is switched off.
- Don't use cooking equipment to warm up the kitchen, insulate it.
- Don't leave your freezer door open. On average, that will cost you £6 an hour.
carbontrust.co.uk eca.co.uk est.org.uk