Save energy in your hospitality business

Energy and gas costs continue to rise, leaving businesses like cafes, restaurants, pubs, food suppliers and accommodation providers feeling financially strained.

The good news is that hospitality businesses can significantly reduce their energy bills by becoming more energy efficient.

Reducing energy use in your business can:

  • save you money
  • give you a competitive edge
  • create more business
  • help the environment.

The figures on this page come from our Boosting Business Productivity program. We worked with more than 300 businesses to explore their energy use and minimise their energy cost.

Measure your current energy use

First, understand where your business is using the most energy, so you can find ways to reduce and save.

In the hospitality industry, common areas that use the most energy are:

  • cooking
  • heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC)
  • dishwashing
  • lighting
  • refrigeration and cool rooms.

Learn how to measure your current energy use >

Ways to reduce energy costs

1. Install timers to appliances

Timers can take the effort out of training staff to manually switch appliances off overnight.

Use timers to switch off appliances like:

  • coffee machines
  • sandwich presses
  • hot bain-maries
  • fridges for drinks and non-perishables.

Benefits

On average, hospitality businesses installing timers to appliances found they:

  • spent from $300 to implement
  • saved more than $400 annually
  • took less than 1 years to pay back
  • saved more than a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

2. Upgrade and maintain your refrigeration equipment

Upgrading your old refrigeration equipment to more energy efficient ones can decrease your energy use and significantly help the environment.

When upgrading your equipment, look for the energy rating label.

It helps to regularly maintain your refrigeration, look for:

  • coil cleanliness
  • cycle times
  • refrigerant levels
  • function of fan and motors
  • refrigerant pressure settings
  • correct temperature settings
  • refrigerant leaks.

Find more ways to maintain your refrigeration system >

Benefits

On average, hospitality businesses upgrading and maintaining their refrigeration found they:

  • spent less than $12,000 to implement
  • saved up to $9,000 annually
  • took less than 1.5 years to pay back
  • saved more than 30 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

3. Use and maintain cooking equipment more efficiently

Ways to reduce energy in your kitchen are:

  • use an induction cooktop instead of gas
  • delay turning on appliances, like sandwich presses, salamander grills and coffee machines
  • turn off appliances when you’re not busy
  • turn off fridges for drinks and non-perishables overnight
  • cook in bulk, freeze food and use a microwave to reheat, where possible.

Gas appliances are usually cheaper to run but are less energy efficient compared to induction cooktops. Gas cooking releases more heat into the air, requiring increased ventilation and cooling.

To increase the efficiency of your oven:

  • don’t pre-heat more than you need
  • don’t open the door unnecessarily
  • keep the window clean so you can see inside
  • check the oven door seals and hinges are working
  • cook multiple things at once
  • use a smaller oven when it’s not busy
  • use a microwave instead, if possible.

Benefits

On average, hospitality using and maintaining their cooking equipment more efficiently found they:

  • spent up to $5000 to implement
  • saved up to $3000 annually
  • took less than 2 years to pay back
  • saved more than 10 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

4. Use dishwashers more efficiently

Dishwashers can consume a large portion of hospitality business’ energy because they use a large amount of energy to heat water.

To increase the efficiency of your dishwasher, make sure you:

  • only use dishwashers when full
  • turn off dishwashers overnight, when you’re not busy and as soon as you don’t need them
  • regularly maintain, looking for leaks and unclean filters
  • use low energy mode, if available.

Benefits

On average, hospitality businesses using dishwasher more efficiently found they:

  • spent less than $7000 to implement
  • saved up to $1400 annually
  • took less than 5 years to pay back
  • saved more than 5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

5. Upgrade to LED lighting

LED lighting is more than 60% more efficient than fluorescent and halogen lighting. LED lighting also needs less maintenance.

Benefits

On average, hospitality businesses upgrading to LED lighting found they:

  • spent less than $32,000 to implement
  • saved up to $6000 annually
  • took less than 5.2 years to pay back
  • saved more than 40 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

6. Manage heating and air conditioning more efficiently

Managing the way you heat and cool your space can reduce your energy bill by up to 50%. Especially for hospitality businesses that need to cool down a hot kitchen.

Set the thermostat to:

  • 24°C in summer
  • 20°C in winter.

One degree higher or lower can add 5–10% to your heating and cooling bill.

Limit heat entry or loss through:

  • draught proofing
  • insulation
  • shading
  • window tinting.

Benefits

On average, hospitality businesses managing heating and cooling more efficiently found they:

  • spent up to $15,000 to implement
  • saved up to $3000 annually
  • took less than 5 years to pay back
  • saved more than 25 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Find more ways to manage heating and cooling >

7. Invest in renewable energy

You can switch to renewable energy by:

  • investing in solar PV (photovoltaics)
  • asking your energy provider about renewable options.

To get the most competitive offer for renewable energy, compare electricity and gas providers.

Download the Clean Energy Council guide to installing solar (PDF, 1.6MB).

For help investing in solar, you can get finance. Environmental Upgrade Finance allows you or your building owner to borrow money from a financier to install solar on your site. You then make repayments through your local council rates system.

Find out more about Environmental Upgrade Finance >

Benefits

On average, hospitality businesses switching to renewable energy found they:

  • spent less than $36,000 to implement
  • saved more than $9765 annually
  • took less than 3.5 years to pay back
  • saved more than 8.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

What else can you do?

Reduce food waste

The average hospitality business throws away more than 100kg of food every week. Half of which could have been prevented.

But it’s not just about wasting food. It’s a waste of money, time, resources and it piles up in landfill creating harmful greenhouse gases.

Sign up to our Love Food Hate Waste program to:

  • track your food waste
  • identify where it can be prevented and take actions
  • measure and share your success.

Register now >

Get an energy audit

Hire a professional energy consultant to review your energy bills and the way your business operates. They’ll identify where you’re losing energy and what you can do about it.

Through our Boosting Business Productivity program, on average, a business in the hospitality industry:

  • spent $7000 on an energy audit
  • identified a savings of 35% of their total energy bill
  • identified $156,000 of annual savings.

Find an energy auditor near you >

Get recommendations for an energy upgrade project

Our energy upgrade tool does the hard work for you. It recommends opportunities and funding options, and calculates return on investment for your business.

Use the energy upgrade tool >

Upgrade equipment at a discount

You may be eligible for discounted energy-efficiency products and services, through the Victorian Energy Upgrade program.

To get started, contact an accredited provider.

Then, you can pay for the remaining cost with energy-specific finance.

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