Greene King introduces voltage optimisation

Greene King is set to install voltage optimisation technology in 600 of its managed pubs.

Greene King is set to install voltage optimisation technology in 600 of its managed pubs by the end of 2023, with further sites planned to benefit in 2024. 

The equipment, which is set to cost nearly £5m to install, will help to regulate the incoming power supply by reducing the voltage provided to the optimum level, reducing the pub’s energy use and therefore cutting the associated costs and carbon emissions.

Initial trials in 2023 saw a healthy reduction in electricity usage at each pub, meaning that the investment is expected to pay for itself within a relatively-short timeframe. 

The first phase is focusing on higher-energy-using sites, which includes Greene King’s whole Farmhouse Inns estate of 70 pubs. These are typically larger sites with a carvery, open throughout the day from breakfast, with large ovens for slow-cooking, as well as busy kitchens. 

How it works

The new technology is installed close to the building’s electric distribution board and works when the electricity passes through the equipment, as the supply voltage is reduced to the required amount going into the pub. It doesn’t require operating once it is installed and will work automatically to optimise power levels.

"To reduce our impact on the environment, it’s crucial that we look at ways of reducing the energy we are using and be vigilant for ways we can cut wastage at scale," says Assad Malic, Greene King’s chief communications and sustainability officer. "This multi-million-pound investment will benefit hundreds of our pubs and follows successful trials earlier this year. 

"Pubs face challenges when it comes to reducing energy wastage, in particular in historic and listed buildings, which are often poorly insulated. So while we are looking at ways to reduce the energy we are using, we also need to ensure we are looking to minimise energy that is going to waste. 

"At the moment, historic buildings are constrained by planning laws that restrict the work that can be done to decarbonise them. Pragmatic discussions need to be had with the government about ways to decarbonise these buildings in a way that respects their history, but equally allows them to transition to net zero. We will continue to play our part to work collaboratively across the industry so we all become more sustainable, but we also need the government to recognise the unique challenges historic pubs face and help us create a decarbonisation plan in line with planning laws."

The introduction of voltage optimisation in hundreds of pubs is part of Greene King’s strategic roadmap aligned to the company’s science-based target to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

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