For an establishment in the hospitality industry, the energy consumed in the kitchen accounts for more than half of total energy consumption. But now, a project co-financed by the European Union provides free, customized reports to help in adopting measures to improve efficiency.

The actual energy consumption of a restaurant or a bar depends, to a large extent, on the dimensions of the kitchen, the equipment installed and the type of service that is offered, but in most cases the kitchen is the main area of energy consumption. In regions with hot climates, the kitchen may be responsible for up to 63 % of the total energy cost, whereas in regions with a colder climate it is near 51 %. Air conditioning and lighting generate the next highest energy consumption.

With the aim of improving efficiency in consumption and reducing the total cost of energy, the project PYME Energy Check Up, co-financed by the European Union (EU) through the Intelligent Energy Europe program, provides an online energy calculator to bars and restaurants which allows them to obtain a free and personalized diagnosis of the establishment, a report which includes potential efficiency measures that can be applied to each case.

The goal of this European project, coordinated in Spain by the Aragonese Council of Chambers of Commerce and the Center for Investigation of Resources and Energy Consumption (CIRCE), is that 1,500 Spanish small and medium sized businesses optimize their energy consumption.

By including information about their annual consumption in their most recent energy bill and by describing the characteristics of the building and equipment, the bars and restaurants will know if they are consuming more energy that other similar establishments and also the principal actions that they can implement, the approximate cost, the potential savings, and the time estimated to recover the investment.

Once the recommendations are received, the users will be able to request quotes from specialized suppliers from among the hundreds of companies that already have been authorized by the project. Also, energy experts from CIRCE will provide consulting services to 20 SMEs that request additional help because of their high level of energy consumption.

How to save energy

Establishments in the hospitality industry can implement various measures to reduce their energy consumption. The proposals show them how to improve efficiency in their thermal systems - heating and hot water - and lighting, as well as specific actions in the surrounding area: facades and windows on their buildings, or in professional equipment.

Some measures with high degree of applicability and high potential savings:

  • Installation of air barriers at the entrance of the establishment: these minimize the heat exchange between the inside and outside since often the entrance to a hotel allows for important losses of air conditioning (for both hot and cold), for example, because of simple automatic doors that remain open or have an unfavorable orientation to the wind.The installation of air curtains or double doors leads to energy savings on air conditioning of up to 70%, while increasing the comfort of guests and employees.
  • Ventilation in places open to public is necessary to maintain the quality of the indoor air. It is important to control the ventilation and adjust it accordingly based on the occupation rate at the time, depending on parameters such as the concentration of CO2 in the air. This provides important energy savings without losing a comfortable temperature level. If we also take advantage of the energy of the air evacuated through a recuperator-exchanger, the energy savings achieved can reach 40% of consumption in air conditioning.
  • Installation of adjustable solar protection systems on glass surfaces is an effective and profitable measure to reduce the energy needs in cooling, heating and lighting depending on their orientation. Fixed shading elements are effective on south facing facades. However, this type of protection does not optimize the use of solar radiation in other orientations. In these cases, the most effective solutions are adjustable solar protection systems that optimize the solar energy in winter and avoid direct radiation in summer, while using natural light. These systems can allow for savings of up to 50% in refrigeration, 20 to 25% in heating and up to 50 % in lighting.
  • For equipment used in kitchens, there are several measures that can be applied, from the use of gas appliances - electrical appliances that work with natural gas - or bithermal appliances, which prevent the inefficient heating of water with electricity, to the automatic regulation of extraction systems. The optimization of these systems avoids heat loss and waste of electrical energy. Informing and training the staff is the base for obtaining ideal results.
    Other options consist of turning on these systems intelligently, by using a programmed system or configuration connected to starting the appliances or gas burners. In addition, more sophisticated systems exist that automatically adjust the speed of the extraction fans according to the needs in real time, detected by sensors.