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Energy Efficiency:  Start with the fruit laying on the ground (Blog)

July 2009
Practice: Green Business, Retail, Restaurant & Consumer
People: Jared Eigerman, Philip A. Herman

“When it comes to saving money and growing our economy, energy efficiency isn't just low hanging fruit; it's fruit laying on the ground," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. On June 29, he and President Obama announced aggressive actions to promote energy efficiency and save American consumers billions of dollars annually.

So what does this mean for the food service industry?

The lowest-risk/highest-reward “green” strategy for restaurants is to minimize energy consumption. Restaurants are notoriously energy-, water- and waste-inefficient. According to PG&E, 80% of the $10 billion annual energy bill for the commercial food service sector is expended by inefficient food cooking, holding and storage equipment. So, cutting energy use translates directly to the bottom line by reducing utility costs.

So where do you start?

First, look into the federal ENERGY STAR ® program. Click here for specific advice on benchmarking (auditing) your existing energy use, and developing plans to reduce such use.

Second, regulated electric and gas utilities in most of the larger states, such as California, New York and Massachusetts, are now required to offer programs to promote energy efficiency by their customers including programs tailored to the food service industry. These often include significant cash rebates or loans for restaurants to install equipment that improves energy efficiency. Look at http://www.dsireusa.org/Index.cfm?RE=0&EE=1 and contact your utility.

Want more? Resources include…


National Restaurant Association: https://www.restaurant.org/Industry-Impact/Conservation/Conserve-Program

Green Restaurant Association:  http://www.dinegreen.com/

Green Seal:  http://www.greenseal.org/GreenBusiness/Standards.aspx?vid=StandardCategory&cid=10


Have questions or want to comment?

Please contact Phil Herman.

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