Energy Efficiency

According to a research conducted by the PG&E Food Service Technology Center, 80% of the expenditures of a restaurant could be saved by using a more energy efficient approach on how to prepare and store food. Those restaurants, which select their energy consuming appliances carefully, are able to reduce their expenses even by 10-30% without compromising their quality standards or lower the number of their staff. Moreover, they also significantly contribute to environment protection.

On average, a catering unit consumes five times more energy per square meter than any other service provider sector facilities, an office or a commercial unit.

Restaurants are accountable for performing the most energy-intensive tasks and having the highest number of energy consuming appliances with the longest working hours, therefore the highest energy saving can be achieved in this service provider sector. With the replacement of even one appliance, significant amount of energy and money can be saved, due to its non-stop use. Thus the time of return on the investment is a lot faster than in the households.

According to the sustainablefoodservice.com, the following appliances are the most energy consuming ones: dishwasher, stove, fridge/freezer, air conditioning and hand driers.

There are several energy labels used to determine the energy efficiency level of an appliance. The European Union has already made the energy categorization and labelling of certain types of appliances compulsory in 1992. More and more products qualify to have those labels on. The most energy efficient types are the category „A” (some products are even more efficient, having labels like „A+”, „A++”, or „A+++”) and the least energy efficient is the category „G”. So when we buy an appliance, we just have to look at the labels.

In order to operate in the most efficient way, it is also important how the appliances are used. The maximum occupancy for the operation of the appliances, proper installation (e.g. not to install the fridge right next to the stove), or turning off the appliances immediately when they are not in use, etc. requires an active contribution from the staff also. Therefore trainings for the employees and motivating them towards energy efficiency goals are important elements of energy saving.

During the validation process we first of all check those steps that a restaurant is willing to take in order to reduce its energy consumption. We especially value those kinds of investments that utilize renewable energy sources, although we take into consideration that the time of return on these types of investments is still rather long and their applicability is highly depending on the location of a restaurant. Therefore when we process the answers, the rates of the scores do not solely depend on the environmen-related return on investments, but we also consider how simple and how costly it is to make a change.

The total energy consumption of an average restaurant consists of the following segments and percentages:
The most energy consuming task is refrigeration? (bár az ábrán csak 16%!): 26%
Cooking: 25%
Space heating: 17%
Water heating: 16%
Cooling: 7%
Ventilation: 6%
Other, computers, office equipment: 9%

When taking a decision, we consider the existence of an energy certificate as a basic requirement for the facility where a restaurant operates, in case its floorspace is larger than 50 m2. According to the Hungarian Government Decree no. 176/2008 (VI. 30), after the 1st of January 2012, each and every building, that is larger in floorspace than 50 m2, is obligatory to carry out an energy certification process, if:
a) it is a newly constructed building
b) existing building, but it is to be sold or rented for more than a year.

The following important exemptions are to be applied in the case of restaurants (it is not necessary to obtain a certificate for the following buildings):
–    buildings that operate less than 4 consecutive months per year
–    buildings that are planned to operate less than 2 years
–    historical buildings
–    inflatable- or stretch tent structures.

In order to improve the thermal equilibrium of a facility, the first step is to obtain an energy certificate. This demonstrates the energy performance- and energy saving possibilities of that facility, which provides a good base for responsible restaurant management. With respect to the fact that the responsible person for the certification procedure is the owner of the facility, we consider this aspect for qualification purposes only in cases of those facilities when the owner of the facility and the restaurant is the same person.

In the evaluation process, the energy demand of lighting has higher importance for us, due to the fact that lightbulbs can be easily replaced. In our opinion, it is a basic requirement for an environmental friendly restaurant to show preference towards the use of energy efficient lightbulbs.

It is important to pay attention to the maintenance of the appliances; a significant amount of energy could be saved by e.g. with a simple defrosting of the refrigerator/freezer, or decalcification of the dishwasher. These types of regular checkups on the appliances are also part of the basic requirements for obtaining good qualification.

A big THANK YOU goes out to Katalin Hall for the translating the original site!