Going Green and Saving Green

We all know that sustainability has been a topic of conversation for years with restaurant brands. But it often followed the same track: everyone would love to be more environmentally conscious, but efficient equipment is expensive. Now I’m not here to say that’s not true, but the good news in 2019 is that it’s getting easier to make sustainable choices without killing cash flow.

What are some of the quick fixes and long-term investments you can make in sustainability?

1. Lighting

Upgrading to LED lights continues to come down in price, and if you choose to replace lights as they need it, is a more affordable option to start bringing costs down. Even if you choose to replace all lights at once, while you may shell out in the short term, they will pay for themselves in a couple years because they’re 80% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs.

2. Programmable heat and air conditioning

At home, many people are using the Nest, a thermostat that learns your routine and preferences and adjusts accordingly. Yet only 60% of restaurant operators are using programmable or smart heating and cooling. With a device that costs less than a couple hundred dollars, what are you waiting for?

3. Low-flow water adaptors

You don’t think of the faucet as the first place to save money in a restaurant, but for a few dollars, you can install low-flow adaptors on sinks that will save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year on your water bill.

4. Energy-Star appliances

This is almost always a big-ticket item, but it’s worth crunching numbers before you dismiss new appliances based on price tag alone. For example, in Nation’s Restaurant News, McDonald’s franchisee Kari Swenson purchased an $18,000 energy-efficient fryer. But it was worth the cost not just in energy savings, but because it also saves her $3000 a year in oil.

5. Energy efficient remodeling

If you’re planning a remodel, look at what efficiencies you can add with better insulation, different windows, more efficient HVAC and other upgrades. If you will already be investing in the remodel, you can use efficient upgrades to help offset the cost in the long term.

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