The National Restaurant Association (NRA) launched a new campaign—the National Restaurant Association Conserve/EPA ENERGY STAR Challenge —and is encouraging the nation’s nearly one million restaurants, their 13 million employees, as well as their suppliers and guests to reduce energy and water use in establishments.
‘There are many different ways to reduce energy and water consumption in restaurants,’ said Association President and CEO Dawn Sweeney. ‘We hope that our Conserve/EPA Challenge campaign will motivate those within our industry to continue their journey toward a more sustainable future.”
‘Restaurants represent an important opportunity to reduce energy consumption across the nation since the average restaurant uses 2.5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. Energy and water efficiency will improve a restaurant’s bottom line as well as help protect and preserve the environment for future generations,’ explained Anna Stark, Program Manager ENERGY STAR Commercial Markets.
By reducing their use of energy and water, restaurants save on utility costs. The Association provides a checklist of energy- and water-saving tips to get Conserve/EPA ENERGY STAR Challenge participants started. The checklist includes steps such as turning off lights and equipment when not in use, serving water upon request, and motivating employees to reinforce conservation efforts.
Another step encourages restaurant operators to benchmark their current energy and water consumption. By benchmarking, or measuring usage, operators can identify opportunities for savings, validate their efforts, and set goals for future reductions.
NRA research shows that environmentally sustainable practices are increasingly important to today’s consumers. Forty-four percent say they are likely to make a restaurant choice based on a restaurant’s efforts to conserve energy and water, and six out of 10 say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers food that was grown in an organic or environmentally friendly way.
When it comes to restaurants, operators are steadily increasing their environmental efforts: 27 percent of quickservice operators, 43 percent of family dining operators, 45 percent of casual dining operators and 50 percent of fine dining operators say they will devote more resources to ‘green’ initiatives this year compared to last year.