If you lease your restaurant space, you may not be able to make significant energy efficiency upgrades. But there’s still plenty you can do to reduce your energy costs without needing your landlord’s investment. Here’s how to save money without spending a cent:

  • Make sure gaskets and latches on cooler doors form an airtight seal. To test you seals, put a piece of paper in the door. If it stays when the door is shut, your seal is intact.
  • Don’t prop walk-in cooler doors open. And to save even more,energy, keep the lids of your ice machines down as well.
  • Keep your dishwasher’s water temperature at 140°. Any higher and you’re wasting heat. A heater set even 10° too high can cost you an extra $650/year.
  • Only wash full dishracks. Eliminating 10 racks/day can save a minimum of $60 annually in gas and $350 in total system operating costs.
  • Develop a start-up/shut-down schedule. This avoids accidentally leaving appliances on. Also consider whether you need to leave certain appliances on. Many restaurants don’t turn off their dishwashers at night, but there’s no reason to leave them on—and turning them off will help save you money.
  • Keep your burner heads clean. Clean burners use fuel more efficiently, resulting in less fuel usage.
  • Take advantage of the nighttime “Unoccupied” setting on your programmable thermostat. And it goes without saying that, if you don’t have a programmable thermostat, get one.
  • Reduce lighting where possible. If there’s enough daylight, use it. Turn off lights in unoccupied areas, or consider installing motion-sensitive lights in areas like bathrooms or coatrooms.

For a more comprehensive list of how to improve your energy efficiency, take a look at our do-it-yourself energy audit checklist.

Image credit: Quinn Dombrowski