By Ross Gill . August 10, 2019

A number of recent high-profile closures combined with reports that the top 100 restaurant groups made a loss of 82 million last year highlights some of the range of challenges the UK hospitality industry currently faces. If you’d like to decrease overheads at your hotel, restaurant, bar or coffee shop and add to your bottom line, fine-tuning your energy spend is a great place to start. And along with saving money that might be better spent on staff or marketing, you could find that being more energy-efficient helps you to attract more custom with sustainable tourism and sourcing becoming more important booking factors for consumers.

Today on the blog we’re going to take a look at some simple ways you can reduce energy costs in your hospitality business through education, maintenance, investment and research. Reducing energy use means monitoring and actively controlling where you use energy, is this something you’re doing effectively?

1) Get a handle on heating

According to the Carbon Trust, heating accounts for around 60% of energy costs for businesses such as hotels. While guest usage is difficult to control to an extent there are lots of simple housekeeping switch you can make to reduce heating costs. One of the first steps for conducting an energy efficiency assessment is to ask guests and staff for feedback. Can you discover if any areas are being heated when they don’t need to be? Could you perhaps drop the heating temperature by a degree or so?

Next, think about carrying out physical audits of areas – is the heating system switched on too early or left on too late in lesser-used areas? Educating relevant staff on operating heating efficiently is also a simple but effective step. Who in the building knows how to alter the heating to turn it down or off as required?

One really common energy waste issue is an unplanned overlap between air conditioning and heating systems. If you fail to align their programming, you could find that you’re cooling and heating areas at the same time. Installing a good Building Management System can help you set a suitable gap between air conditioning and heating, allowing you to monitor temperatures and reduce energy costs

2) Put lighting in the spotlight

Lighting typically accounts for around 25% of energy costs says the Carbon Trust. To ensure your lighting set up isn’t wasting energy, repeat some of the steps above but with a focus on your building’s lighting. Are areas lit when they don’t need to be? Installing motion sensor lighting can help you to make major savings, not least as you don’t need to remind staff and customers to turn the light off. The choice of lighting itself will also impact how much energy you use. Consider replacing older lighting with more energy-efficient options such as CFL and LED lights.

Natural light can also be used as a factor for planning occupancy. Can you save energy by putting guests next to the window or on the sunnier side of your hotel? Finally, where you do rely on staff and customers to switch lights on and off, use clear signage as prompts and include education for staff as part of regular training.

3) Smarter equipment use and maintenance

From kitchen appliances and meeting room projectors through to office computers, equipment that’s switch on when it’s not in use can be a huge energy drain. Yes, there are some bits of kit that need to ‘warm-up’ before they’re put to use, but staff should be encouraged to do this only for the required amount of time. Communication with staff is hugely important when it comes to using the equipment effectively and prolonging its life in the process.

Staff can also inform you when the likes of ovens, hob plates, dishwashers, boilers and freezers are underperforming or need to be repaired. Encourage good energy management throughout your workforce by discouraging staff members from leaving equipment on standby and install timers where logical. Showing the staff the value that can be obtained elsewhere in the business by making these changes can help to motivate them to follow energy-saving procedures long term.

Defrosting freezers regularly, maintaining seals on fridges and freezers and planning kitchen and laundry room layouts with heating and cooling requirements of equipment firmly in mind, are all simple housekeeping and maintenance tasks that can help your equipment to work efficiently. Altering the temperature water is heated to can also be a smart move – 60°C is adequate to kill bacteria like legionella.

4) Switch, monitor and analyse

Switching energy suppliers could help you to reduce bills and increase your profits without the need to make more sales. Wouldn’t you rather be spending on important stuff like staffing, food, marketing or premises? If you’re not with an energy supplier who understands the needs of your business or on a tariff that’s giving you the best deal for your usage, take the time to investigate what else is out there.

To understand whether your current energy supplier is adequately meeting your needs or see if energy-saving activities are translating to savings, you’ll need to monitor both energy use and your bills. Here at the Electric Board, we know that gas and electricity bills can be confusing. Our energy consultants can help you dig into the data so that you better understand the impact on your bottom line.

In addition, our unique CRM system, Paradigm, provides a complete overview of your broker account with us. If you’d like to find out how we can help you to future-proof the energy spend of your business – get in touch with one of our energy consultants for a free consultation. Call 0800 254 5054 now.