The Best Bites ‘Energy and Water Efficiency’ criteria focus on reducing energy and water consumption, and recycling water where possible. Minimising water and energy use can save your business money and reduce your environmental footprint. Making changes to how you think about energy and water usage will set you on the right path, and sometimes it is the simple things that make a longer-term difference

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council has a commitment to support our community, especially regarding adapting and mitigating climate change and its impacts, energy and water are two critical parts to our response.

We’ve got a few top tips on how your business can reduce energy and water usage. For electricity start with:

  1. Behaviour change: Switch off appliances if you’re not using them, and turn everything off after you’re closed
  2. You can switch to LED lights for cheaper electricity and longer lasting globes. You can conduct a globe audit and choose from a range of styles
  3. To reduce the energy needed for heating and cooling, there’s a few things you can do easily
    • Upgrade your insulation, install double glazing, or add blinds
    • Put on jumpers and provide rugs for customers and using fans instead of air conditioners
    • Set your heating and cooling to a minimum of 25 degrees in summer, and a maximum of 20 degrees in winter - even one degree can make a big difference
  4. Sourcing smart!
    • Renewable Energy: Solar
    • Energy efficient appliances such as induction cooktops, fridges, dishwashers, washing machines
    • Installing solar power can help you save significantly on your energy bills.  The Victorian government are currently offering solar rebates for businesses.  Find out more here - Solar for Business Program | Solar Victoria.

Some tips for saving water are:

  1. Reflect on your water usage: Has your water bills been unusually high? Monitoring your water use helps you understand your water usage patterns, identify leaks and improve inefficiencies
  2. Check for leaks to minimise water wastage
  3. Behaviour change: Turn off taps when not in use, run full loads of dishes and washing
  4. Use water saving fixtures, fittings and appliances, such as
    • Taps, shower heads
    • Dual flush toilets
    • Water efficient dishwashers (refer to the WELS water ratings)
  5. Install a rainwater tank to collect rainwater, make sure it’s plumbed to your toilet and to water your garden

For more ideas and tips, visit Saving water | South East Water

On the wastewater management side:

  1. Install grease trap in accordance to SEW’s requirements
  2. Sweep and mop instead of hose floors

Lastly, you can invest in your future!

What is EUF? Long term loan with reduced risk by fixing the interest rates and tying the loan to the property, not the owner. Some examples of eligible projects are solar panels, rainwater tanks, energy and water efficiency measures, and plenty more.

For more information you can check out the MP Business page for ideas to reduce water and energy usage, or visit Sustainability Victoria’s page for more great ways to improve energy efficiency  and there are lots of other ways to save water.  You can also call or visit the Shire’s Eco Living Display Centre in Mt Martha for ideas.

The team from the Mornington Peninsula Shire have prepared a short informative video for food businesses and community groups that serve food. Share it with your staff as a training exercise or include it in your staff handbook.

So how does this information help my business get into the Best Bites Food Guide?

Each food business is routinely assessed by a Shire Environmental Health Officer each year. To qualify for consideration in the Best Bites Food Guide, the business must achieve the following:

  • Obtain a score of 95% or above in the annual food premises assessment
  • Safely manage food allergens and provide allergen information to customers on request.

A Shire Environmental Health Officer visits the business to validate a short list of key criteria across the five pillars of Access & Inclusion, Nutrition & Healthy eating, Smoke Free Dining & Alcohol Management, Recycling & Waste Initiatives, Energy & Water Efficiency. Businesses can be listed in one or more sections – they don’t have to be listed in all five, but the more areas your business is validated in, the more recognition and exposure your business gets! Each area validated will ensure the business is listed under that section of the Best Bites Food Guide.

The Best Bites Food Guide criteria for Energy & Water Efficiency are:

  • Uses energy efficient heating, cooling, and appliances
  • Uses energy efficient lighting eg. LED downlights
  • Uses water saving plumbing fixtures and appliances
  • Prevents cleaning waste water from entering local drains and waterways
  • Routinely checks for water leaks on a maintenance schedule

Read more about how to get into the Best Bites Food Guide and the other pillars of excellence, or get in touch  with the Shire's Environmental Health Team to ask any questions. Phone them on 5950 1050 or contact the team online.

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