Managing Restaurant Energy Costs: How Restaurants Can Reduce Energy Costs Up to 50%

In an industry where the competition is high and the profit margins lean, managing restaurant energy costs to bolster the bottom line has increasingly become priority. Gas and electricity are significant operating costs in the food business: restaurants use about 2.5 times more energy per square foot  than the average commercial building, and approximately 28% of that consumption goes towards heating, ventilation and air conditioning. HVAC is second only to food preparation in terms of its impact on energy costs in the restaurant industry.

Managing Energy Costs

Investing in energy-efficient HVAC retrofits is a sure-fire way to safeguard your restaurant business from fluctuating energy costs. The money you save on energy can be invested back into the growth of your business, and the technology can make your establishment more comfortable for patrons and employees alike.

The Benefits of an HVAC Retrofit for Your Restaurant

Many restaurants operate on the back of aging infrastructure that is inefficient at best and at worse falls short of updated building codes. Although HVAC equipment is less visible than the other appliances and equipment, its potential impact on your business is great.

In addition to operating costs, you cannot ignore the effects that temperature, humidity, ventilation, and air flow can have on your establishment; cooks and servers need a comfortable environment to perform at their best, and patrons aren’t likely to return to place that feels excessively hot, cold, or stuffy. Words like “poor air conditioning” and “musty odour” are some of the last things you want to see in online reviews of your restaurant.

How Restaurants Can Reduce Energy Costs By Up to 50%

Rooftop unit retrofits (RTUs) are an ideal technological solution for restaurants seeking to cut energy costs and improve the indoor environment. Transformative Wave designs and installs energy management systems that can reduce energy costs by up to 50% using features like variable frequency drives, advanced economization, and demand controlled ventilation.

Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)

A VFD is a smart motor controller cabinet that adjusts the frequency and voltage of electricity supplied to the fan motor. The device saves energy by regulating the fan speed based on setpoint needs and protects the HVAC unit from airflow deficiencies. In addition to reducing electricity consumption, a VFD also helps to extend the useful life of the system by reducing the risk of issues like refrigerant cooling and coil icing.

Advanced Economization

An economizer is a dampener that directs outdoor air into the indoor space to cool it when the ambient temperature is favourable. Leveraging outdoor air instead of return air delays or minimizes the need for compressor-based cooling, which reduces the energy consumption from the compressor. Advanced economization is important both for efficiency and pressurization control.

Demand Controlled Ventilation (DVC)

Demand controlled ventilation (DVC) is a system that monitors the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration in the return air to gauge the building’s ongoing ventilation needs. When the CO2 drops below a set threshold, the system provides a lower ventilation rate to save energy; when the concentration is higher, it draws in more outdoor air to regulate.  A DVC system can help the business meet building code requirements for ventilation, which is especially important in an industry that often utilizes bulk quantities of liquid CO2.

The money you save in energy expenditure through HVAC retrofits for your restaurant can go towards growing your business in other ways: boosting your marketing budget, investing in human resources, renovating your dining area, or upgrading your kitchen. That’s in addition to the benefits of a well-ventilated and temperature-controlled environment.