Five top tips for energy saving in the hospitality industry

Cutting down on your energy use is a win-win strategy – it’s good for the planet and good for your wallet. But where should you start? Five tips for efficient energy saving in the hospitality industry from MPULSE.

Decorative interior light hanging on the wall and ceiling.

Tip 1 – Check what’s necessary

On the face of it, this tip seems very simple. Electrical appliances that are needed stay on – everything else is turned off. But the greater the number of appliances, the harder it is to keep track. A checklist can help you to make sure that the right switches are flicked at the end of the working day. And remember: standby mode is not the same as off! It’s also worth looking at when your lighting is turned off and on. Do you need full exterior lighting when your premises are closed? Checking the fridge and freezer temperature is another good money-saving tip (between 2°C and 7°C for the fridge, -18°C for the freezer), as every degree outside the recommended range increases energy use by 4 to 6%.

Tip 2 – Stoving, steaming and stir-frying

Some dishes have a significantly better energy footprint than others. Stoving, steaming and stir-frying use significantly less energy than braising or cooking for a long time. And if you want to go one step further, raw food takes practically no energy to prepare. So when designing the menu, it’s a good idea to have a balanced mix of ‘high-energy’ and ‘low-energy’ dishes. If ingredients can be used for several dishes, food waste is reduced and you can cut down on shopping.

Tip 3 – Pay attention to energy efficiency ratings

An A rating is everything when buying new equipment. The EU energy label tells you how much electricity an appliance uses. So if you are buying new, you should always choose an A-rated appliance – and if it has several plus signs after the A, so much the better. An appliance in the highest energy efficiency class A+++ uses up to 60% less electricity than its A-rated equivalent. Even if the initial purchase cost is higher, energy-efficient equipment wins in the long term because consumption is reduced and therefore costs are lower.

Tip 4 – Optimise the washing-up process 

Energy-saving potential doesn’t end when the cooking is done: it also extends to the washing up. Tableware is easier to wash if the left-over food hasn’t had time to dry on. Cutlery doesn’t need an additional rinse cycle if it is pre-soaked. And it goes without saying that the dishwasher basket should be completely full every time the machine is run. The best way to wash up is by type. That means leaving heavily soiled kitchenware such as pots and pans until last – or better still, washing them in a separate universal dishwasher. Regular maintenance and descaling also helps to prevent energy from being wasted due to the build-up of limescale in the dishwasher.

Tip 5 – Adjust room temperatures

There’s no doubt that it feels nice to be in a pleasantly warm room. But for every degree you turn the thermostat down, you save around 6% in heating costs and energy. So choosing the right temperature is a balancing act, although there is a rule of thumb that can help. All lounge areas and similar can be heated to 20 °C – 22 °C. That is high enough to be comfortable. Other rooms should be below this, for example 18 °C to 20 °C for the toilets and 18 °C for the kitchen, which will be hotter anyway when you are cooking. Lowering the thermostat to 18 °C at night will also save energy and money. To avoid wasting energy, don’t leave windows ajar all the time. It’s better and more effective to ventilate rooms by fully opening all the windows for about ten minutes and then shutting them again.

For more tips on making your restaurant more sustainable, see:

More on the sustainability strategy and the eight strategic focal points in the METRO Corporate Responsibility Report.

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