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Energy Insights

Energy Saving Tips for Pubs and Hotels

Energy costs are increasing and are putting stress on businesses across many industries. However hospitality facilities typically have the potential for 20-30% reduction in energy consumption through energy efficiency measures, ranging from “low-hanging fruit” tweaks to air-conditioning through to investment in life cycle technology upgrades. Here are some energy saving tips typically applicable to the local pub that can help to save energy costs:

  • Outdoor heating.  Outdoor heating is typically manually controlled with no thermostat and can account for 10-20% of a pub’s energy consumption.  Fuel-switching between electricity and gas can provide financial savings but most important is to incorporate intelligent controls to the operation of these systems, via thermostats, zone controls and time schedules.
  • LED lighting.  If your pub is not using LED lighting, it should be.  LED luminaires with superior efficiency are available to replace most halogen, fluorescent or metal halide lighting and they can do so while still satisfying the need for aesthetic appeal.  Indeed, aesthetics can be enhanced with LEDs via the ability to provide various and alternating colours.  LEDs also often offer more controllability than other luminaires, lending themselves well to daylight dimming and occupancy controls.  Increased controllability however may not be true of LED over halogen luminaires, where another major advantage of LEDs is their far superior life expectancy.
  • Solar PV.  The trend of increasing electricity costs and decreasing solar costs has served to provide significant improvement in the payback for solar power systems over the past few years.  If you’re lucky enough to own your roof space and your electrical profile isn’t solely constrained to the evenings then solar PV may provide attractive paybacks.
  • Power factor correction.  The "power factor" of a site is a measure of electrical efficiency; the ratio of real power (kW) to “apparent power” (kVA).  A power factor of 1.0 is ideal and can be achieved (almost) with a power factor correction unit.  If your electricity bill notes a charge against a “kVA” figure then your site may have the potential to reduce energy bills via power factor correction.
  • Maintenance.  As a general rule, if equipment and lighting is looking old and dodgy, it is not likely to be operating efficiently.  This is particularly true of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment.  Routine maintenance including cleaning filters, cleaning condenser coils and re-charging refrigerant can significantly improve the efficient operation and longevity of these key infrastructure items.
  • Air-conditioning controls.  Air-conditioning can be expected to consume approximately 50% of your pub’s energy consumption and the set points and time schedules that users apply can have a significant impact on their consumption.  Systems should be set to appropriate temperature set points with care not to inadvertently create a potential for conflict between adjacent units by setting them with different set points. The internal controls on air-conditioning systems can also have an effect; most importantly the "deadband" between heating and cooling should not be too narrow in order to avoid oscillation between the two modes.  For larger items of equipment, logic controllers can be optimised for improved economy cycle and compressor control.
  • Life cycle refurbishments.  Every life cycle replacement presents an opportunity for efficiency upgrade.  For air-conditioning systems this means looking to incorporate economy cycle, variable speed fans and variable speed compressors.  For refrigeration systems you should request digital scroll compressors, variable speed fans, inbuilt floating head and suction pressure control, electronic expansion valves and intelligent electric defrost controls.

Engaging an energy efficiency consultant for an energy audit of your pub will help to identify which energy saving tips are right for your site, how much they will cost, and importantly how much they will save.

Originally published in the Australian Hotelier Magazine.

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