Green Dining Alliance Benchmarking Jam Sept. 20

Take The First Step Toward Cutting Energy Costs For Your Restaurant

By Brianne Bannon,
USGBC-MO Gateway Chapter Intern

Energy efficiency isn’t typically the first thing on a guest’s mind when she walks in to your restaurant. She might be more concerned with the menu, atmosphere, or whether there’s anything left of the tasty peach pie special. But what if your strides towards greater energy efficiency could help guarantee that your doors will stay open for your hungry guests, and that St. Louisans are never deprived of your pie?

Developing a budget for a restaurant can be challenging, and it can be frustrating to know where to cut costs. In many restaurants, however, the answer may be as simple as finding ways to reduce energy use. According to a study cited by ENERGY STAR, restaurants use about five to seven times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. A high-volume, quick-service restaurant (QSR) “may even use up to 10 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings.” If you own a restaurant and are looking to save money, examining your energy use is a logical place to start!

But how do you measure energy consumption? And what can you do to save energy once you know how much you’re using? It might seem like a daunting task, but don’t be discouraged: there are free online tools that will allow you to start energy benchmarking—measuring how much energy your building consumes, and comparing your energy performance to similar buildings—and the USGBC-MO Gateway Chapter is here to help!

On September 20, the USGBC-Missouri Gateway Chapter will partner with the Green Dining Alliance (an organization that works with restaurants in the St. Louis area to reduce their environmental impact) to present a Benchmarking Jam for restaurants, food sales, and food service buildings. While resources specific to these building types will be shared, buildings of all types are welcome to attend.

At the Benchmarking Jam, you’ll gain an understanding of how the amount of energy your bar or restaurant uses compares to similar buildings, learn about common ways to save energy and money, and explore available financial incentives—some of which are available for restaurants through Ameren Missouri and Laclede Gas.

For best results, each building representative should bring a laptop/tablet, your building’s street address, year built, and contact information, the Gross Floor Area (square feet), energy use data, and property use details. Property use details vary depending on building type, but those for a bar or restaurant are: Gross Floor Area (square feet), weekly operating hours, the number of workers on the main shift, and the number of computers.

Curious about this event or energy benchmarking in general? You can visit www.usgbc-mogateway.org to register for our event and learn more! Restaurant owners looking to learn more about the Green Dining Alliance can do so at www.greendiningalliance.org. The Benchmarking Jam will take place on Wednesday, September 20 from 1:30-3:30 pm at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Commerce Bank Center for Science Education.