Bakeries across the world are known for using a lot of energy. Not only do they need to power the usual lighting and heating expenses, but they also have to power mixers, fridges, freezers and ovens. This can lead to high energy bills and cause profit margins to shrink.
This means that it’s crucial for bakeries to take relevant steps 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.
Luckily for bakers, there are a lot of ways that energy can be saved. 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.
Ways to become energy efficient may include changing equipment, tweaking operations, or finding those hidden places where energy is being lost unnecessarily. Here, with business gas specialists Flogas, we look at tips for UK bakeries to help them save energy and reap the financial and environmental rewards…
Know your energy usage
Make sure you don’t stay in the dark with the energy you’re using. 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 may find yourself missing a trick if you don’t regularly check your machinery and 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 out for sinks or dishwashers that are leaking as it 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
Be sure to encourage and empower your staff to make changes too so that they can help 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.
Request that your staff help check if heat is being unnecessarily wasted. They can flag 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
An easy way to make a quick positive impact on your operating expenses is to purchase energy efficient machines. 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 another aspect that can make a huge 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 purchases.
Negotiate a better energy deal
Make sure that once you’ve signed up to an energy deal you don’t just ignore 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.