2017 Better Buildings Summit Highlights - Retail, Food Service & Grocery

By Better Buildings Beat Team on May 30, 2017

The 2017 Better Buildings Summit brought nearly 1,000 of the nation's leading energy experts to Washington, D.C. May 15-17. Representatives from the Retail, Food Service, and Grocery (RFSG) sector came together in a number of different ways to share knowledge and insights from their store and restaurant locations across the United States. 

Here's an overview of the many ways RFSG sector partners and stakeholders got the most out of the Summit:

Showcase Building Tour - REI at Uline Arena

Over 20 participants kicked off the Summit by attending a tour of Better Buildings Alliance partner REI's new flagship store at Uline Arena in Washington, D.C. The arena was built in 1941 and played host to the first Beatles concert on American soil in 1964. Attendees enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of this facility, which is pursuing LEED gold certification under the LEED for Commercial Interiors rating system, and boasts all-LED lighting.  

RFSG Sector Monday Meet-Up Sessions and Networking Dinner

In the RFSG Meet-Up, Better Buildings partners volunteered to be discussion leads on topics important to sector organizations, from metering to data management to advanced refrigeration and supply-chain efficiency. Participants shared accomplishments and challenges, and got tips on which sessions to attend.

At the "reverse-pitch" session, retail, food service, and grocery partners shared challenges to energy efficiency in the field and associated technology wish-lists with product development representatives from tech firms in HVAC, lighting, EMIS and more. More than 30 vendors attended and asked great questions of the panelists.

In the evening, sector members met for Mexican food and a very good time at a local restaurant.

Sector Goal Achievers Recognized at Summit

On Tuesday two sector goal achievers, CKE Restaurants Holdings and Macy's, were honored by Assistant Deputy Secretary Dr. Kathleen Hogan for achieving over 20% portfolio-wide energy reductions since their baseline years. Retailer Staples was honored as the sector's first water goal achiever, clocking 40% water savings, thanks in large part to portfolio-wide upgrades to irrigation systems.


      Bob Valair, Staples                                                    Cory Stueve, Macy's                                                   Juliann Rogers, CKE Restaurants Holdings


Partner Insider Talks at the Tuesday Plenary

Roger Webb of Wendco was one of five partners from across the program to share insights during the Tuesday plenary session. Wendco was the first Wendy’s franchisee to join the Better Buildings Challenge, adding more than 40 restaurants in Alabama and Florida to the program. Wendco has achieved energy savings by converting exterior parking lots to LED, using 100% LED lights in new restaurants, incorporating new ultra-high efficiency HVAC equipment, and through preventative maintenance. To date, 15 additional Wendy's franchisees, representing more than 1,000 restaurants, have joined Wendy's and Wendco in the Better Buildings Challenge.

Going Viral with Energy Efficiency

RFSG partners Wendy's and Walmart joined multifamily housing partner Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly to describe their efforts to encourage franchisees, suppliers, and tenants to reduce energy use. Walmart's Jim McClendon described Walmart's Project Gigaton and Sustainability Hub, offering resources and tracking mechanisms to help suppliers set and meet sustainability goals. Scott Moline of Wendy's offered best practices for engaging franchisees, including the importance of franchisees encouraging one another to set energy goals, and the key role that benchmarking and friendly competition play in franchisee engagement.

Workshop: Innovative Internal & External Financing Methods for Retail, Food Service, & Grocery Energy Projects          

Leaders from RILA and IMT offered an overview of alternative financing mechanisms available to retail, food service, and grocery organizations, including green bonds. For more information on financing, please visit RILA's website.