Ways Restaurants Can Save Cost On Electricity: Refrigeration

Friend or foe?

No restaurant can operate without having to use refrigerators or freezers, for the mere fact that they prevent food from spoilage and ensure that food is safe for consumption. We do not want our apples looking like this, do we?

(Warning: unpleasant apple picture ahead!) 

   

However, according to SustainableFoodService, refrigeration is also one of the single largest energy expenses in restaurants. On its own, it accounts for roughly 50% of electricity usage. To add on, there are numerous pitfalls that restaurant owners and employees generally commit that causes their electricity bills to swell further. 

Refrigeration accounts for roughly 40% of electricity usage.

Fret not though. By keeping in mind several simple steps highlighted in the subsequent paragraphs, this could definitely help you avoid unnecessary energy wastage and aid in boosting your restaurant's profits!

1. Keep your refrigerators away from heating sources

It is an all so common sight for restaurants to place their refrigerators right next to cooking stations to ease the workflow. I have to admit that even in my humble kitchen, the refrigerator is placed next to the toaster and microwave. However, do you know that placing these cooling units in close proximity to heating sources could actually cost you much more than expected? Studies by the Launceston Tasmania Government have shown that refrigerators that are located near heating units will increase the surrounding temperature by 5 degrees celcius, resulting in 30% more energy being consumed since they have to work harder to maintain the required desired cool temperature! In addition, do keep in mind to always keep a space of at least 10cm between the refrigerator and wall or other items to ensure proper ventilation. 

Refrigerators placed near heating units can consume 30% more energy than necessary.

2. Invest in an energy-efficient refrigerator

The efficiency of the refrigerator also plays a large and vital role in ensuring that lesser energy is consumed for the same amount of work done, that is, to maintain the food at the required temperature. According to GreenHotelier, newer models of refrigerators can offer up to 50% in energy savings despite a slightly heftier cost. The National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore has also revised their tick rating system to enable consumers to better identify more energy efficient refrigerator models. As such, it is of foremost importance to ensure that you know how to properly read the energy labels. 

Image taken from NEA website.

Image taken from NEA website.

With that, remember this simple equation before purchasing any refrigerator:

Greater efficiency = More cost savings

3. Always keep your fridge door closed

Forgetful minds or busy kitchen schedules causing one to accidentally leave refrigerators' doors ajar could also result in soaring electricity bills as the motor continues to run. This could also lead to overheating of food products and subsequent spoilage which could go unnoticed and ruin a customer's dining experience and a restaurant's reputation. Nonetheless, this can be easily overcome by simply installing a refrigerator door closer or attach an alarm to prevent employees from overlooking an ajar door.

4. Do not overload your fridge

Ensuring that the refrigerator is not overloaded could also go a long way in preventing additional energy consumption and unsatisfactory cooling. This is because an overloaded fridge will prevent air circulation and hence non-homogenous cooling of your ingredients. On top of that, should your thermostat sensor be blocked, the fan would run continuously and could eventually burn out. Knowing not to overload your fridge would help you save costs and keep your ingredients fresh. Kitchen experts also advise storing food strategically in the refrigerator by keeping in mind the preservation requirements of these items, and to also bear in mind that the lower part of the refrigerator is generally cooler.

5. Clean your refrigerator coils

Never neglect proper maintenance of the refrigerators as well. This could include periodically cleaning its coils, and keeping it dust free. This wikiHow page provides excellent and detailed explanations on how to be a refrigerator cleaning expert at little to zero cost!

6. Defrost your refrigerator

Defrosting your refrigerator once in a few months would help to prevent layers of ice from building up inside the freezer, increasing the efficiency of the appliance. This reduces consumption of energy, and lowers the electricity bill. With the entire defrosting process taking up to 45 minutes only, there is definitely no excuse for even busy individuals to engage in this cleaning process occasionally! Check out these 12 essential cleaning steps that could see your refrigerator bill fall!

7. Run your fridge efficiently

One final grave mistake not to commit is to keep your refrigerator's temperature cooler than it is necessary. Excessively low temperatures do nothing more to preserve food, apart for consuming more electricity! GreenHotelier.org, the leading source of information on sustainability within the hotel industry, have proven that simply by increasing the freezer's temperature from -25°C to -20°C, this could help save 10% of energy consumption. Do also keep in mind to periodically check that your refrigerator unit is displaying the correct temperature since this could mislead you to set the wrong temperature desired and use up additional energy. 

Excessively low temperatures do nothing more to preserve food.

Remember, little things add up, and small efforts add up to great savings! The following infographics will help to consolidate the aforementioned vital information in concise points and ensure that your first step towards reducing your refrigerator's cost and helping you save on precious electrical energy is a successful one:

Going along with the recent Star Wars craze, 'May the force be with you" in your energy saving journey. We leave you with an image of Master Yoda. 

May the force be with you!

May the force be with you!

-Jessica