In addition to a bakery’s basic energy needs – like lighting and heat – it needs to power ovens, mixers, fridges and freezers. The result? High energy bills and shrinking profit margins as energy prices rise.
Fortunately, there’s a lot that a bakery could be doing 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.
Know your energy usage
Don’t be in the dark about how much 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, 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
If you don’t routinely check your equipment, you could be 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, watch out for leaky sinks and dishwashers, which could be costing you a fortune without you realizing it. 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 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). Also, check that windows aren’t being left open during the heating season and turn down the thermostat instead.
Invest in energy efficient equipment
Energy efficient machines and appliances will automatically have a positive impact on your operating expenses, so bear this in mind when investing in new equipment. Baking is typically the most energy-intensive process in the production of baked goods, so an efficient oven is likely to deliver some of the biggest savings.
Lighting can also 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 Green Business Fund provides independent advice and procurement support for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to make energy-saving equipment purchases.
Negotiate a better energy deal
Don’t sign up to an energy deal and never look at it again. 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.