We are spending a lot of time (and energy) going green. What about food-service establishments? Here's a way to entice
customers while saving real dollars. Going green can save operational costs, bring in new customers and help cultivate
a reputation as a responsible, proactive business.
These are an expansion of home recommendations taken a step further. We know water is expensive, especially heating
it. Water-saving devices reduce energy costs by reducing the amount of hot water used.
Dish washing offers several areas for conserving. Wash equipment manually in a three compartment sink or, if using a
chemical sanitizing dish machine, set the water heater at 120 to 125 degrees instead of 140 degrees.
Older commercial dishwashers use between 80 to 150 gallons of water hourly. Newer machines use 50 to 70 percent less.
Rather than buying a new machine, your vendor may be able to lease you a newer, more efficient machine. Pre-rinse
sprayers use an enormous amount of water. By attaching a water-saving sprayer, you can reduce water usage by 30 to 35
Other water saving measures include putting aerators on sinks and switching to low flow toilets, which use around 1.6
gallons of water per flush rather than the traditional 5 to 7 gallons.
These few changes create significant savings over the course of even one month.
Next there is food waste and recycling. Recycling reduces pollution, conserves natural resources and promotes green
technology. In any business, there are challenges when starting a composting and recycling program. Start with
compostable bags available for containing food waste. A few of our restaurants recycle coffee grounds or hops for
customers to reuse. Composting adds nutrients to the soil, reduces soil erosion and minimizes the need for
Recycling and composting can be enhanced by allowing post-consumer waste to be separated and disposed of by
customers. Compostable and recyclable single-use items also reduce waste.
Other pieces of equipment offer opportunities for conservation. A single well-insulated, walk-in cooler or freezer
can use significantly less energy than a fleet of one- or two-door reach-in refrigerators and freezers.
Properly maintaining equipment is important, too.
On refrigerators, coils should be clean, seals and gaskets in good condition and refrigerant refreshed.
Controlling climate in the business is important. A programmable thermostat can adjust for daytime, nighttime and
open or closed periods.
Heating can be set as low as 60 degrees at night when no one is using the building. Also, reflective coating can help
keep windows from overheating the building.
There are many things that can be done to go greener. Some have costs up front; however, return on investment into
green options can be immediate.
Other items are free, such as educating employees on green practices, saving water and energy and changing habits.
email@example.com or 247-4355. Wendy Rice is family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County