Managing energy in your pub

When you run a pub, there’s nothing more important than great customer service. But let’s make sure that your energy-using equipment is providing you with great service, too.

Andrew Fletcher
Site audit advisor

Six ways to make your pub more energy efficient

From the cellar to the bar, most pubs can find ways to reduce energy usage and save money.

Here are my simple strategies for cutting your energy bill - while continuing to offer a warm welcome to all your customers.

1. Heating open/close

People love a cosy pub but too warm can be too expensive for you.

Our energy auditor says

These simple heating tips can make a big difference to your bill.

Stick to the recommended temperature

20°C to 22°C is perfect for bars and lounges.

Divide your pub into zones so you can heat areas more efficiently
Having separate heating controls for the bar, lounge, function room and so on allows you to heat each zone separately based on occupancy.

Install a seven-day electronic time-switch

This will allow you to have different settings for each day. It's a great idea if you have different opening hours on different days of the week.

Set your thermostat around your customers

That way your pub reaches the ideal temperature as people arrive and begins to cool down as people leave - and you're not wasting money on unnecessary heating.

Put thermostats away from temperature extremes

Keep them away from draughty areas, in areas of sunlight, or near internal heat sources like radiators or fireplaces.

Discourage staff from using thermostats as on/off switches

Remind them that turning a thermostat to maximum does not speed up the heating process - the space simply overheats, making customers uncomfortable.

Check your thermostats are working well

If your thermostats are set correctly and the heating is on when it shouldn't be, ask a qualified heating technician to check or replace them.

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

2. Lighting open/close

Effective and attractive lighting is essential for customer comfort and enjoyment as well as for the health and safety of staff and visitors.

Our energy auditor says

One of the most obvious pieces of advice can have the biggest impact: keeping windows, skylights and light fittings clean can make your pub bright and welcoming without incurring unnecessary expense. (Without regular maintenance, light levels can fall by up to 30% in two to three years).

You can reduce lighting energy costs by 50%or even more by implementing automatic lighting controls and installing LED lighting.

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

3. Cellar services open/close

Our energy auditor says

The energy used for cooling beverages in a typical pub usually accounts for more than 10% of the total energy cost. About half of this goes into cellar cooling.

Savings of 10% to 50% can be achieved by following these key principles for reducing energy use in cellars:

Improve the layout

Put any heat-producing equipment such as line coolers for beer and soft drinks, cooling cabinets and icemakers outside the cellar in a well-ventilated area.

Install thermal insulation and draught stripping

  • If heating pipes have to pass through cellars, pipes, fittings, flanges and valves should all be insulated and draught stripping applied in places where pipes pass through walls.
  • Cellar doors and hatches should also be draught-stripped and insulated. Access doors should be self-closing and shut immediately after deliveries.

Replace lighting

  • Replace standard tungsten bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or fluorescent strip lighting.
    Turn off lighting whenever you can to avoid excess heat production.

Check refrigeration equipment is working well

  • Make sure that pipe work circuits are kept as short as possible and that the condenser unit is in a well-ventilated location.
  • Try to place cooling system temperature sensors at barrel height and away from the evaporator.
  • Set cooling system controls to the recommended cellar temperature, usually between 11°C and 13°C. Use a thermometer to regularly check this temperature is maintained as overcooling the cellar by 1°C can increase cellar energy costs by up to 10%.

Undertake regular maintenance

  • Ensure equipment is properly maintained so that it operates efficiently.
  • Regularly clean evaporators and heat rejection coils to allow free airflow - that way they'll run more economically.
  • Empty condenser trays to avoid water fouling the coil.

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

More words of wisdom

Looking at new equipment? Be sure to consider the longer-term maintenance costs before you buy.

4. Hot water open/close

Our energy auditor says

Avoid overheating water

It's potentially dangerous and definitely costly. The optimum temperature for stored hot water is 60°C. This is hot enough to kill Legionella bacteria and warm enough for staff and guests to use comfortably.

Introduce urinal flush controls

These can help to reduce unnecessary flushing in your toilets which means less water used and more money saved.

Install a seven-day electronic time switch

That way you can establish different hot water settings for each day to save energy and money.

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

5. Building open/close

Our energy auditor says

Around two thirds of heat from a typical building is lost through the walls, floors and ceilings. It's a good idea to make improvements in these areas prior to replacing or upgrading any existing heating system or at the same time as a major refurbishment project.

A well-designed refurbishment project will give you the opportunity to integrate energy efficiency into the fabric of the building.

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

6. Catering and appliances open/close

Our energy auditor says

If your pub has a kitchen, think about installing a sub meter to see how much energy is being used. This will help identify cost savings and also help you justify any investments required in order to reduce running costs.

If catering is provided by an outside company working on your premises, installing a sub meter can help you assess how much of your catering budget is being spent on energy. This could act as an incentive for your kitchen manager to reduce energy costs.

Source: Hospitality - Saving energy without compromising service, Carbon Trust, March 2012
Food and drink processing - Introducing energy saving opportunities for business, Carbon Trust, March 2012

Let’s talk about your business

Gas, electricity or both? Whatever you use, you need a plan that works for you. Give us a call and we’ll help you find the right one.

Contact us online or get in touch today

0800 294 4980

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