Hello RFMA members,
Today's topic is sustainability. Over the past decade or so the importance of sustainability has grown dramatically, and rightly so. It will continue to be a major factor in restaurant design and operation. In general, restaurants use about 5-10 times more energy per square foot than other businesses. It's up to us to continue to find and use better equipment, materials and processes to minimize energy, water, and waste usage. Most restaurant chains have begun incorporating sustainability items and methods into their daily operation. Sustainability is no longer thought of being "nice to have". Federal, state, and municipality laws are now beginning to govern usage requirements for restaurants. Obviously this post, with it's space limitation, will not be able to dive deeply into this subject but there are a few items to consider when designing a restaurant or replacing equipment. HVAC/R and lighting are the two (2) largest energy users in the stores. Switching to LED lights, for example, saves tremendously on both electrical and bulb replacement costs. For HVAC's, a simple "Start Up Time" chart will ensure equipment is not running when not required. There's no reason to turn on all the a/c's, exhaust and make-up air fans when not needed. Stage the turn on times as required. This should also apply to cooking equipment. Consider EMS (Energy Management Systems) and/or programmable t-stats. Plumbing is another large item to consider. Go with low (or no) flow toilets and faucets throughout the facility. Use Energy Star rated equipment wherever possible. Ensure all preventative maintenance is being done in a timely manner.
RFMA is fortunate to have a large number of restaurant facility individuals and vendor partners that can assist you in the entire sustainability arena with ideas and products that have proven successful. Don't be afraid to reach out to others to see what has worked best for them. We are not sharing recipes but are becoming a force for positive social change.
There are so many great sustainability programs currently in use. Feel free to comment on what is working for you. It will benefit everyone. With that in mind, consider registering and joining us for the next Peer to Partner call on Friday, Sept. 12th. The topic is "Sustainability".
Dover and out!