How To Reduce Your Utility Costs (page 3)

Beer Stores and Cellars

Your beer is classified as food stuff for human consumption so you must treat the areas you store them in as you do any other food area. Essentially you should think of your beer store or cellar as a very large fridge!

  1. The only thing you should be keeping in your beer store is cask ales, kegs and bottled products and in just the same ways as you wouldn’t keep tools and other kit in a kitchen fridge nor should you in a cellar.
  2. Like a kitchen fridge you need to keep all the elements of the chilling system properly maintained, cleaned and serviced, with the system set to the correct level for the required temperature. Similarly check the cellar temperature regularly (keep a thermometer in the cellar, have it hanging away from the wall and not in line with the blower unit) and don’t leave the cellar door and/or flaps open, except to air the room daily. (I used to have a sign at the top of the stairs that read: “Oi you! Have you shut the cellar doors? GO BACK AND CHECK!” – although you may wish to word it differently).
  3. When you or your staff perform tasks such as cleaning the floor, take delivery or will be up and down for beer line cleaning turn off the blowers as you will only be chilling parts of the building that don’t need it. (You just have to remember to turn them back on when you’ve finished.)
  4. Don’t use hot water in the cellar if cold water will suffice.
  5. Unlike a domestic fridge the lights don’t go out when you close the door so make sure that lights are turned off when not needed. The only exception to this rule of thumb would be at exceptionally busy times when staff may be up and down from the bar re-stocking or changing kegs/casks. (Let your staff know what is expected of them and when.)
  6. Ice machines use huge amounts of both water and electricity, never have an ice machine in you cellar because all the heat the machine kicks out producing the ice has to be cooled by your cellar chillers. Use any spare ice to fill your freezers (if you have the space) this saves on freezer electricity consumption too.
  7. If you can empty your ice machine on a Sunday night and store the ice in your freezers and turn the machine off, you can clean it on Monday morning and leave it off until Tuesday morning (depending on your ice consumption) then fill the ice bin with your stored ice and leave it for half an hour, to cool the thermostats and then switch the machine back on. It will save you money and you will be doing what so many in the trade never do – clean their ice machine regularly!

My top tip for bottled product stored in the beer cellar is (if you have enough room) open all cardboard boxed bottles to allow cool air to circulate around the bottles, this allows them to cool quicker.

For more detailed information see my separate article on Reducing Your Cooling Costs and for advice on Heat Recovery Systems click here.


Your pub will have a water meter, so every gallon you use or flush away will be measured and you will be charged accordingly. It behoves you to ensure that you minimise not only the water you use but also what gets flushed away. Here are some effective ways of saving water:

In the kitchen

  • Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.

Toilets and Bathrooms

  •  Upgrade older toilets with water efficient models, if this capital outlay is beyond your reach then reduce the amount of water used for each flush by inserting a displacement device in the tank (this can be as simple as a plastic litre bottle filled with water put in the tank).
  •  Consider changing to waterless urinals, these can save up to 20,000 gallons a year per urinal (depending on the frequency of flushes). If you can’t afford these then consider having a motion detector with a shut-off valve put in your urinal system and if all else fails reduce the flow of water to the urinal header tank to reduce the number of times they flush. Turn off urinals over-night … if your cold water feed to the urinal header tank doesn’t have a stop cock or other valve then get a plumber to install one.

Gardens and Outdoors

  • Collect water from your roof to water your garden – install a water butt in your drainpipe from your roof. Not only does it save on the water used but saves on the water going through the drains.
  • For hanging baskets, planters and pots, use all your left-over ice cubes to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate the need for watering.


When shopping for a new clothes washer or glass/dishwasher, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some of these can save up to 20 gallons per load, and electricity consumption will be reduced too.


  • Never use a hose when successive buckets of water will do – it’s always a great temptation to sluice toilet or cellar floors with a hose – use a stiff brush and a bucket of water instead.

None of these suggestions alone will save you a fortune, however, combine these practices into a proactive energy saving policy and they can make a substantial contribution to reducing your utility costs. (See also my article on reducing cooling costs).

You can get a very useful leaflet from OFWAT giving guidance on how to deal with surface water and thus reduce your water charges even more on their website by clicking here. For specific advice on reducing your cooling costs click here.

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