Greene King invests millions in its pubs’ energy efficiency

Credit: Alex Yeung /

Voltage optimisation equipment will have been installed in 600 of Greene King’s managed pubs by the end of this year, with further sites targeted for the same upgrade in 2024.

The optimisation technology is installed close to each building’s electric distribution board, where it monitors the demand for electricity from the pub – when the voltage demand is below what the grid is pushing in, the system modifies the supply board voltage to match the required amount.

Once installed, the equipment doesn’t require any operating, and works away automatically to optimise power levels, reducing each pub’s energy use and cutting the associated costs and carbon.

Greene King said that initial trials of the optimisation gear saw a healthy reduction in electricity usage at each pub, meaning that the company’s near £5million investment is expected to pay for itself within a relatively short timeframe.

The initial phase of installations 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.

Greene King’s chief communications & sustainability officer Assad Malic, said: “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. 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,” noted Malic.

“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.”