Since 2014, dining incubator Union Kitchen has adopted energy-efficient measures that will result in $500,000 in lifetime energy cost savings and stop the lifetime carbon dioxide emissions of more than six million pounds — the equivalent of taking 583 cars off the road for one year.
It’s just one of several hospitality operations DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) is working with to combat wastefulness. In exchange for incorporating energy efficiency into their daily workflow, participating restaurants receive various incentives and rebates.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, restaurants use about 2.5 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. Most commercial kitchen appliances are typically energy hogs; the average deep fat fryer uses more than 11,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per year — which can add up to $1,000 in electricity charges alone.
“As energy costs increase, investing in energy efficiency is the best way to protect your business against these rising prices,” says DCSEU managing director Ted Trabue.
District-based Right Proper Brewing Company, which utilizes a massive solar installation to trim energy costs, even sees sustainability opportunities in its holiday decorating; all the Christmas lights hung this year are energy-saving LED bulbs.