Bakeries notoriously use a great deal of energy. As well as basic energy needs — like lighting and heat — they require energy to power ovens, mixers, fridges and freezers. This can often create huge energy bills, while profit margins can shrink due to a rise in energy prices.
Now, more so than ever, it’s important for bakers to assess their energy use and set up steps to make sure they’re 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 bakers, there are a lot of ways in which 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 percent, this could represent the same benefit as a five percent increase in sales. So, it really does pay to pay attention to energy waste.
Ways to become energy efficient include changing equipment, tweaking operations and finding the hidden places where energy is being unnecessarily lost. Gas mains 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
Be sure to know you much 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
It’s vital you don’t miss a trick by ensuring you routinely check your equipment. For example, if your freezer coils get dirty, that could impact energy use by as much as 50 percent. So, regular cleaning will help ensure maximum efficiency.
Similarly, make sure you keep an eye out for leaky appliances, such as sinks and dishwashers. 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 percent or more if the boiler is poorly operated or maintained.
Make Small Changes
Staff being on board with small changes can make 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
Have a positive impact on your operating expenses by purchasing energy efficient machines 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.
Lighting is another aspect that can make a huge difference. For example, efficient LEDs use around 80 percent 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.