Energy-saving tips for restaurants

Professional ovens, industrial refrigerators and constantly running dishwashers make restaurants energy-intensive facilities - especially in the summer, when air conditioners are working overtime to keep hot kitchens cool. Fortunately, there are many simple and low-cost ways to improve your restaurant's efficiency and lower your electric bill.

Engage your employees

These tips won't cost you a dime and will involve your employees in helping to meet energy-saving objectives:

  • Have one of your employees raise the air conditioning thermostat by five degrees in the summer before leaving each night, or if you have a programmable thermostat, set it to raise the temperature by at least five degrees overnight. Experiment to see how early you have to change it back in order to cool down before customers arrive
  • Assign responsibility at the end of the workday to turn off equipment and lights

Use equipment wisely

Here are no-cost ways to make your restaurant equipment work more efficiently for you:

  • Keep refrigeration units set at the proper temperature. A lower setting will waste money and could damage stored food
  • Check for damaged refrigerator and freezer door seals and replace if necessary
  • Cook wisely. Ovens are typically more efficient than rotisseries, and griddles can be more efficient than broilers
  • Avoid running equipment all the time, and implement a start-up/shut-down plan to have equipment turned on only when needed. The savings can be substantial
  • Consider the layout of your kitchen and rearrange appliances, if necessary - keeping ovens and cooktops away from cooling equipment so your refrigerators don't have to work as hard

Air conditioning and maintenance

A restaurant's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system accounts for 28 percent of an average restaurant's energy expenses, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Fortunately, there are simple ways to keep these costs down:

  • Change filters monthly, and schedule maintenance twice a year to check the control settings, refrigeration coils and airflow
  • Clean any kitchen hood filters, and have the input and output air balanced
  • Seal leaky air ducts that waste energy

Long-term solutions

Long-term investments in your restaurant's efficiency can lead to great returns:

  • Install occupancy sensors in walk-in coolers and other storage areas to automatically turn lights down to a minimum
  • Switch to high-efficiency lighting, like dimmable compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and T-8 fluorescents with electronic ballasts to save on electricity and maintenance costs
  • Consider installing high-efficiency cooking equipment, coolers and dishwashers
  • Replace inefficient kitchen appliances, which emit more heat and make the air conditioner run longer and harder
  • FPL's Kitchen Demand Control Ventilation Program offers rebates for automatic controls that save energy and money by slowing down exhaust fans when they detect cooking has stopped
  • The ENERGY STAR® Guide for Restaurants provides a broad range of tips for keeping restaurant energy costs down

Programs and incentives

You create delicious food. We create the energy that keeps your restaurant running. FPL can help you save on your electricity costs. Learn more about energy reduction programs and costs saving tips.

  • For Florida restaurants, air conditioning costs are typically the largest part of the energy bill. Upgrading your old system to a newer, more efficient cooling system can help offset these costs and lower your electric bill:
  • FPL's Direct Expansion (DX) Air Conditioning Program rewards your commitment to trimming cooling costs through incentives on installation costs and incentives on electronically alternating motors.
  • By adjusting your building's ventilation based on occupancy, FPL's Demand Control Ventilation Program helps your air conditioner operate more efficiently, resulting in lower maintenance costs, a longer life for your system and lower carbon emissions.
  • Lighting accounts for more than 13 percent of most restaurants’ consumption, but replacing your current lighting systems with energy efficient lamps can result in significant savings. With FPL's Business Lighting Program, your business can recover between 65 cents and $4 for each linear fluorescent light it replaces with energy efficient lamps. Plus, since energy efficient lighting is less costly to operate and improves light quality.
  • With simple improvements to your refrigeration units, your business can save money while enhancing operations. By installing energy saving devices such as anti-sweat heater controls and hot gas reclaim technologies your restaurant will reduce electricity usage. Small steps like these can save you up to 50 percent on refrigeration costs, help the environment and improve your bottom line.

Learn more about these energy saving programs by scheduling a free Business Energy Evaluation. This free service evaluates your restaurant’s unique energy needs and offers tailored solutions that will help you conserve electricity and reduce costs.

Or, call our Business Care Center at 1-800-FPL-5566 (1-800-375-5566).