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Incentivise Staff To Get the Basics Right and Save Energy, Says Heineken UK

HEINEKEN UK is advising operators to focus on the basics and work collaboratively with staff to save energy through its latest tips and recommendations. The advice comes as new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, announced the £150bn UK energy plan to combat the soaring prices of utility bills, with energy costs capped for businesses for the next six months. While this provides operators some short-term relief, reviewing your usage and incentivising staff to ensure the whole team is part of your energy saving efforts can help cut costs on an ongoing basis.

In a second announcement the government froze energy wholesale costs at half their predicted seasonal peak as part of its Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS), which will give pubs a discount on gas and electricity from October to March.

A government example of how the scheme works, which can be viewed here, showed pubs could receive a £3,100 per month discount, reducing their bill by over 40%. While a price cap and the EBRS will help pubs in the short-term, it remains vital that operators continue to do all they can to make their businesses more energy efficient in the long term.

Charlie Fryday, HEINEKEN UK On-Trade Category and Commercial Director, says: “Pub and bar operators face more pressure than ever. While there are long-term options to help conserve energy and save money, many need to see a benefit now. The expertise from our Star Pubs & Bars business gives us first-hand experience of this, and the ways in which operators can tackle the rising costs.”

“Our recent HEINEKEN SmartDispense™ Energy Well Spent Summit included panel discussions with pub operators and industry experts, discussing energy and cost savings. Panellists talked about the importance of getting the basics right, and the big impact that can be felt with small changes. A key theme was engaging with staff to ensure overall responsibility is clear, whether it’s challenging employees in some healthy competition, or building energy saving into team objectives, it can all help towards cutting costs.”


1. Make sure your team is part of the solution: It’s important that roles and responsibilities for energy saving are clear. You may already have a ‘switch off’ policy in place for light switches and other electrical appliances. Simple measures like putting up signage above switches and on doors can be a helpful prompt for all staff. Consider also when appliances are switched on, such as kitchen staff only turning on stoves and hobs just before service rather than to warm the kitchen, and appliances like dishwashers are only used when fully loaded and set to the most efficient cycle. Sustainability is likely to be a passion for a number of your staff, so encourage an open dialogue in team meetings where ideas and measures they would love to see in place can be shared. Future Net Zero’s Ellis Hall suggests responsibility for launching bigger initiatives could be assigned to team members and says building energy saving into team objectives means everyone has an interest in making changes

2. Initiate some healthy competition: Encourage your chefs and kitchen staff to get involved by setting a challenge on who can save the most energy. Kitchens are typically one of the highest energy usage areas, so encourage your teams to get creative over ways to reduce energy consumption. This could include coming up with less energy intensive dishes to feature on the menu – offer a small incentive to the most inventive member

3. Review your cellar practices: Keep cellar doors closed between visits and ensure cellars are well insulated to prevent the overuse of cooling systems, especially when the weather is warmer. Right-sizing the cellar for your bar and therefore the amount of stock ensures empty spaces aren’t being unnecessarily chilled, which is also an energy drain. This can be as simple as fitting a butchers-style plastic curtain to help reduce the area being chilled. SmartDispense™ offers a free right-sizing service during install to help increase efficiencies.

Keep track of and improve a cellar’s efficiency by installing a wall-mounted thermometer, regularly topping up cooling equipment with water, checking fans and condensers are free from dust and blockages, and keeping a planned schedule of maintenance to avoid costly breakdowns.

As an add-on for HEINEKEN SmartDispense™ customers, CellarManager can cut energy consumption and costs by 36% a year[1]. CellarManager reduces unnecessary cooling during quiet periods or when closed, maximising efficiency while maintaining beer quality, and is estimated to save each outlet an average of 5,221 KWh annually, with a CO2e reduction of 1.11 tonnes[2].

4. Measure your usage: Knowing how much energy you’re consuming, in what areas and at what times is the key first step to improving energy efficiency. For a relatively low upfront cost, fitting an AMR meter creates a connection between a business and its energy supplier to ensure accurate usage measurement and billing. Data from the AMR meter can help inform your energy reduction decisions, allowing you to identify areas of highest use – usually in the kitchen, bar and cellar – and therefore opportunities for greatest savings as well as see the impact your changes are making.

5. Switch off at the wall: It may sound simple, but make sure all team members are checking that devices aren’t left on standby. Turn off display fridges and consolidate content into one fridge overnight where possible

6. Separate business and home: For those pubs who have tenants or live on-site themselves, it’s now more important than ever to have different meters for domestic and business use, given the government’s new energy plan differs for homes and businesses. Also, for all businesses, consider when different areas are in use and set thermostats independently, so spaces like function rooms and accommodation are only heated when needed

7. Check your servicing is up to date: Make sure that door seals on fridges or freezers are up to standard and not leaking cool air and check your oven seals regularly as well. You can also use variable extraction and turn it down to conserve energy. Ask yourself whether it’s time to replace very old equipment for modern, energy efficient versions. The initial outlay may be a lot, but it could save you money in the long run. It’s often worth speaking with your suppliers – for example, the HEINEKEN Buying Club offers savings on equipment including the most energy efficient fridges and glasswashers on the market.

[1] Independent test results based on subterranean and ground floor pub cellars of varying sizes [2] Independent test results based on subterranean and ground floor pub cellars of varying sizes.

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