How to use data to save energy and go renewable
Soaring energy and fuel prices were a significant issue last year and will continue into 2023, with various measures introduced by the government unlikely to be sustainable for the future. With that in mind, the hospitality industry urgently needs to be looking at energy efficiency and reducing usage. Rising prices will ensure the payback time for investment will be much faster than it has been in the past.
Energy monitoring software is a part of the solution that helps businesses to understand which areas are most costly. Gridduck is one such company that offers this solution. Gridduck founder, Gregor Hoefter, shared with us where he thinks hospitality businesses can have the most impact in reducing their energy consumption and how they can switch to more renewable sources, using data.
(Adapted from our Better Hospitality Guide, which covers the core objectives of driving profit, creating a fantastic offering, keeping your people happy, and establishing a loyal customer base).
Use data from your POS system
The POS system is the “nerve centre” of a restaurant, allowing kitchens to see a significant amount of data, such as how many burgers have been flipped, how many pies have been baked and how many glasses of sauvignons quaffed! These figures can be compared with energy consumption data to start giving a per pint, per table, or per overnight stay cost. Businesses can then ask themselves questions such as, are chips still a high-margin product once the fryer costs have been accounted for?
Switch off machines when they aren’t needed
Gridduck has worked with a number of bars and pubs, and one thing they identified was that many left their ice machines on overnight. While measuring the energy consumption of a number of drinks machines at one bar, they discovered that the ice machine did not switch off. They were able to fit it with a smart plug, allowing the bar owner to set an off time (midnight) and on time (midday) early enough for the drinks to be well chilled before the 5pm opening time.
In general, switching these machines off for 50% of the day (12 hours), can save bars 40% of the energy consumption. With further data analysis, more savings can be found. Gridduck has helped farms and factories save 45-58% across their entire operations, just by giving them more granular data.
Make daily routines more energy conscious
Many bars and restaurants have start-up and closing down routines that can see staff automatically putting on appliances even though they are not currently using them. Gridduck’s analysis of electricity, gas and water usage over a 24-hour period found that there were odd spikes at 10am, which they identified as chefs putting on the dishwasher and hobs when they came in for work. These types of habits can be difficult to change without shifting the start-up routine. Similarly, making turning off machines part of the closing down procedures can help to save energy.
Consider renewable energy and low carbon
Renewable energy is now the cheapest form of energy, but wind and solar are hard to predict. The National Grid balances it with nuclear, gas and other fossil fuels, particularly for high demand times, like the late afternoon and early evening. These times are more carbon-intense for electricity. While businesses that are busy in the early evening will find this difficult to avoid, other hospitality businesses, such as B&Bs, can use this to their advantage.
More tips and insights to help your business thrive in 2023 can be found in our Better Hospitality Guide, which you can download here. For energy efficiency specifically, Dr. Sam Mudie offers her expert consultancy on turning your data on energy consumption into savings.