Contrary to popular belief, actualizing energy savings isn’t as simple as solely installing energy efficient equipment, it requires a holistic approach. Shari’s Café decided to tackle energy consumption head on when the company realized that in order to maximize the full savings potential of the energy upgrades, energy audits and EMIS technology, it would also need to take into account behavioral components.
Shari’s Café is the first full-service restaurant to join the Better Buildings Challenge, committing to a 20% reduction in energy intensity by 2025 across a portfolio consisting of about 100,000 sq. ft. of space. Sustainability has long been a part of Shari’s story with the company striving to reduce its impact on the environment by implementing programs that address mindful energy and water consumption, waste production, and sustainable purchasing practices. Its unique, ramped up recycling program allows Shari’s to recycle trans-fat free cooking oil and convert it into biodiesel fuel. In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of its 100 restaurant locations, the chain has implemented several efficiency measures like replacing wasteful neon lights with LEDs and transitioning to energy efficient bulbs and conducting regular energy audits to track performance and identify areas for improvement. These audits, which occur multiple times throughout the year and utilize EMIS technology to monitor systems data, are what lead Shari’s management to identify what behavioral changes could be made to further reduce energy and water use. Download the Implementation Model: As Easy as Pie: Driving Energy Savings through Employee Behavioral Change Management.
Shari’s set out to determine how best to engage with its staff in a manner that would not only educate, but also incentivize adhering to behavior adjustments that would serve as a conduit to increased energy cost savings. The end result was the creation of innovative cost-saving checklists for staff at all levels, with resources including:
- Shari’s 10 Easy Actions
- Shari’s Easy Actions for Cooks
- 10 Easy Conservation measures
- Shari’s Easy Actions for the Team
- Shari’s Easy Actions for Dish Machine Operators,
- Employee Training Video
In addition to educational resources for employees ranging from dish machine operators to cooks and managers, Shari’s also recognizes top performing staff and their creative energy reduction techniques in a bimonthly newsletter to all restaurant managers and staff. The newsletter serves as an informational resource as well providing readers with updates on energy related topics.
Shari’s Café and Pies’ efforts to be mindful of its impact on the environment has yielded exception results. For example, by decreasing the water-heater temperature in its kitchen from 155˚F to 140˚F, Shari’s found that it could save 225,000 kBTU, or the equivalent of $2,204 annually per location. In the years spanning development and implementation of its energy management plan, Shari’s has actualized decreases in consumption of electricity (6%), gas (25%), and water (40%+), with a total estimated energy cost savings of over $5.5 million, and the company intends to continue making strides in meeting its corporate sustainability goals.
Watch this video featuring Jodenne Scott at the 2016 Better Buildings Summit, as she gives a partner talk on meeting a 20 percent water savings goal.