Bakeries can sap energy. Not only do they require basic energy resources such as lighting and heat, but they also need to power utilities such as ovens, mixers, fridges and freezers. The result can often be huge energy bills and a shrinking profit margin.
It’s increasingly important to have steps in place to make a bakery 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.
Fortunately for bakeries, there are several ways they can 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.
It could be through equipment changes, or a tweak to the operational methods, or even discovering places in which energy is being unnecessarily lost, there are lots of ways to get energy efficient. Gas installation 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
Make sure you are not in the dark about 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
It’s important to routinely check your equipment so that you are not missing a trick. 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, be sure to keep an eye out for any leaky sinks and dishwashers as this could be costly without you even knowing. Regular checks mean you can avoid letting valuable water (and money) drip away.
Also, be sure to add your heating system to your checklist. Heating costs can increase by 30% or more if the boiler is poorly operated or maintained.
Make small changes
Encourage and empower your staff to get on board and make small changes that 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
You can automatically create a positive impact to your operating expenses by switching to energy efficient machinery and appliances. 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.
Another aspect that could make a huge difference is your lighting. 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 purchases.
Negotiate a better energy deal
Don’t simply sign up to an energy deal and never pay it any attention. 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.