Saving energy is no longer a feel good, save-the-planet sentiment. With new technology, energy efficiency has become a way to save money. Michael Oshman, CEO and founder of the Boston-based Green Restaurant Association, offers some math for operators. Lighting accounts for 13 percent of the electricity costs for a restaurant, and switching to light emitting diode (LED) products can save up to 80- or 90-percent energy.
“At the end of the day a restaurant can save 10 percent of its total electricity bill by just using LEDs,” he says. Add timers and motion detectors, and the operator can save more money by automatically turning off the lights in infrequently used rooms.
Some operators do not like the light that LEDs offer, so there are other ways to go green. Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs — these are the curly shaped ones — are also more energy efficient than the old incandescent lights, and they screw into standard fixtures.
The CFLs are more expensive, but they last longer. There is a long term advantage to having workers change the bulbs less often. “Who wants any staff member, whether they are 17 or 70 years old, on the ladder on a regular basis in their restaurant changing bulbs?” Oshman says.