In terms of commercial refrigeration in restaurants, hotels, and other foodservice operations, we often think of the summer months as being the prime time for energy savings. It makes sense because it requires more effort (a.k.a. energy) to keep things cold in the dead of summer, but that doesn't mean summer is the only opportunity for reducing energy consumption.
Winter also offers an opportunity to save energy, especially as it pertains to HVAC. If ambient air inside the operation is heated to make guests and staff comfortable, there's an opportunity to help reduce the volume of air that needs to be conditioned.
Improving efficiencies in heating and ventilation are a huge part of the winter energy savings equation. By using thermostats that automatically control temperatures according to opening and closing hours, operations can experience savings on heating costs. Likewise, on-demand ventilation will not only reduce energy consumption by switching on only when needed, they will also reduce the amount of makeup air needed, which also must be conditioned.
Beyond ventilation, though, there are still other ways to help restaurants reduce energy consumption in winter.
Lighting, or more specific, switching to LED lights, can help operations save up to 75 percent on lighting costs. Lights that operate on sensors or timers can help increase savings even more.
Finally, there's the foodservice equipment itself. Ovens, ranges, fryers, griddles, and certainly refrigeration all use energy, making restaurants one of the largest consumers of energy of any type of building.
An easy way to save energy with foodservice equipment is to make sure everything is properly maintained. Staffing is also important, as employees should be trained on energy-saving operations. With refrigeration, make sure walk-ins and freezers all close properly, and consider strip curtains and proper seals to prevent energy loss.
Though many of these saving opportunities are available to operators year round, thinking about energy savings seasonally can help keep everyone on track and keep energy savings top-of-mind.