The Restaurant Industry’s Energy Cost Problem
The Food Service Technology Center at Pacific Gas and Electric estimates that a massive 80% of the energy used by the average restaurant is wasted to inefficient cooking, refrigeration, and holding equipment. And that’s no small loss — the average restaurant uses between five and ten times as much energy per square foot as the average retail establishment. The Energy Star division of the US Environmental Protection Agency had this to say to all restaurant owners: “There is no substitute for a comprehensive energy survey and analysis.” According to Energy Star’s study, the average restaurant uses energy thusly: Food preparation: 35% HVAC: 28% Sanitation: 18% Lighting: 13% Refrigeration: 6% Clearly, efficient food preparation and HVAC systems are crucial to keep your restaurant’s energy bills down — but how do you reduce costs for something as critical as food preparation, the literal purpose of your entire setup? Linsyx Energy is here to help. First, let’s talk about a couple of key concepts in electricity use.
Concept #2: Voltage Transients
Many devices — a microwave, HVAC unit, coffee maker, refrigerator, or so on — use a concept called power-cycling, which is basically ‘turning off and on again in order to create an effect somewhere between off and on.’ Power-cycling causes small spikes and sags in the voltage around the entire electrical circuit that the device is on. Restaurants use a significant number of devices that power-cycle, which means they’re more prone to spikes and sags than other businesses by a significant margin. This is important because those transient voltage events have several negative effects. Most profoundly in the long term, they reduce the lifespan of every other electrical item attached to the circuit. In the shorter term, however, they also reduce electrical efficiency — essentially, for every device you have attached to a circuit, every other device on that circuit becomes less efficient, using more electricity to do the same job. These two problems — idle current and voltage transients — are the prime targets for making a restaurant more electricity-efficient. Linsyx Energy has solutions for both (and more!)
Food preparation energy costs are the quintessential representation of the ‘idle current’ problem — you have two dozen or more large devices in your average commercial kitchen, and yet you rarely use more than half of them at the same time. With the Linsyx EnergyMoneySaver’s energy server, you can create a ‘program’ that will not just keep your unused devices in ‘idle mode,’ but will actually completely disconnect them from the power, eliminating the idle current entirely. When it comes to HVAC costs, the EnergyMoneySaver’s power conditioner can eliminate the transient voltage events that create unnecessary wear and tear on your machines, as well as reducing the amount of energy lost to heat, reactive power (energy sent back to the power company even though you paid for it!), and other inefficiencies. But before any of that can happen, Linsyx Energy will ask you to heed the words of the Energy Star program, and allow us to perform an energy audit.
The Energy Audit
The purpose of an energy audit is simple: our experts will give your retaurant a complete once-over and share a list of energy losses that you don’t need to be suffering with. We examine every use of natural gas, electricity, heat, and even the airflow through your restaurant (which can be a huge source of waste, if for example your vent hoods are sucking air from your AC straight out the roof.) We’ll come back with a list of all of the ways in which your current situation isn’t as energy-efficient as it could be, and suggestions for how to improve it.
The Energy Money Saver
A profoundly powerful three-in-one device, the Energy Money Saver consists of: The Analyzer, a powerful monitor that continuously feeds information about your energy system back to the other two parts, as well as accepting input from a huge variety of potential sensors set up around your facility; The Server, a computer that accepts input from Analyzer and uses that input to execute preprogrammed instructions about what precisely to do with the systems that it controls. The Saver, a power conditioner that resculpts the waveforms of the electricity in your building and shapes them into exactly the forms that will power your specific electrical devices with minimal losses to heat, undervoltage, overvoltage, and reactive power. In short, the Analyzer is the ‘eyes and ears,’ sensing what’s going on across your grid and sending instructions to the Saver and the Server about what they should be doing to respond. The Saver is the ‘spinal cord,’ offering reflexive and automatic energy savings by fine-tuning your energy to your specific purposes. The Server, in turn, is the ‘brain and hands’ of the system. Together, these three parts unite to offer both constant low-level energy savings and to allow you the potential to set up an enormous amount of programmable savings.