As far as energy-intensive businesses go, bakeries are up there. Not only do they have the basic energy needs — like lighting and heat —they also need to power appliances such as ovens, mixers, fridges and freezers.The result? High energy bills and shrinking profit margins as energy prices rise.
It’s crucial that bakers take a look at their energy use and start taking action to become more efficient. By doing this, not only can they improve their bottom line, but they can also make their businesses more sustainable —reducing their impact on the environment.
There is, fortunately for bakeries, a lot that can be done to save energy. While the changes may seem small, the combined results can be huge. In fact, if a business cuts its energy use by 20%, this could represent the same benefit as a 5% increase in sales. So, it really does pay to pay attention to energy waste. Whether it’s through equipment changes, a tweak to operations or finding the hidden places where energy is being unnecessarily lost, there are lots of ways to get energy efficient. Business gas supplier, Flogas, has put together its top tips for UK bakeries to help them save energy and reap the financial and environmental rewards…
Know your energy usage
Don’t keep yourself in the dark regarding your energy usage. The first step to managing your energy is to know how much gas and electricity your bakery uses each year. Only then can you see where efficiencies can be made. Some points of energy waste may seem obvious, such as inefficient equipment, whereas others might be out of sight. Smart meters, for example, will \ show where your biggest energy expenditures are in real time. Once you have a clear picture, you can then make an informed energy reduction plan for maximum impact.
Do regular checks
You could be missing a trick if you don’t plan in regular check for your equipment. For example, if your freezer coils get dirty, that could impact energy use by as much as 50%. So, regular cleaning will help ensure maximum efficiency.
Similarly, keep an eye on your sinks and dishwashers and make sure they’re not leaking. If they are, this could be costing you a fortune without you realising. Regular checks mean you can avoid letting valuable water (and money) drip away. It’s also worth making sure that your heating system is on your checklist. Heating costs can increase by 30% or more if the boiler is poorly operated or maintained.
Make small changes
Encourage your employees to make small changes. This could deliver a big difference. For example, create a list of equipment that can be switched off fully after hours (or set to timers) and make sure people get into good energy-use habits. Ask staff to help check if heat is being unnecessarily wasted, flagging any cold draughts (so they can be fitted with draught strips or seals). Or check that windows aren’t being left open during the heating season and turn down the thermostat, instead.
Invest in energy efficient equipment
Using energy efficient machines and appliances can have a positive impact automatically when looking at your operating expenses, so you should bear this in mind if you are going to invest in new equipment. Baking is typically the most energy0-intensive process in the production of baked goods, so an efficient oven is likely to deliver some of the biggest savings.
Lighting is also an aspect that can make a massive
difference. For example, efficient LEDs use around 80% less electricity than
standard bulbs and provide a long lifespan of around 50,000 hours. The Carbon
Trust has a Green Business Fund, providing independent advice and procurement
support for small-medium-sized business looking to make energy-saving equipment
Negotiate a better energy deal
If you sign up for an energy deal, don’t neglect it. Lots of utility companies will lure you in with an unmissable deal in year one, then hike their prices in the following years — or put you on a more expensive variable rate once your fixed price deal ends. When it’s time to renew, make sure you’ve researched the best options. If there’s a better offer on the table, take it. For example, you might opt for an extended fixed-term contract to futureproof your bakery from price rises.