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BRSI Launches Energy Education Program for Green Restaurant Initiative

As part of the Energy Upfit Campaign, BRSI is partnering with the Asheville Independent Restaurant (AIR) Association to "green" 17 local independent restaurants through a $258,000 grant from North Carolina Green Business Fund. We intend to put Asheville on the map as a Green Dining Destination City with the highest per-capita density of Green Certified Restaurants´┐Ż anywhere in the country. In support of the restaurant's pursuing Green Certification, the grant funding is to support energy efficiency upgrades and solar installations in participating restaurants. These upgrades will create savings for the restaurants on their monthly utility bills, provide jobs, and support the growing clean energy industry in the region.

The grant also provides funding for the development of an energy conservation education program. Significant reductions in energy use can be achieved through low cost efficiency upgrades, such as proper walk-in refrigerator lighting, or no cost through behavioral changes, such as turning off cooking equipment that is not in use. In an effort to ensure that the Green Restaurant Initiative has a lasting impact, the BRSI and the AIR Green Team included educational and outreach components in the project. Their goal is to lay the groundwork for a long-term self-sustaining educational program that will provide a rapid return on investment for restaurants and support the culture of cooperation already strong in Asheville's business community.

On average, 45% of the energy used in restaurants is consumed during food preparation, an area over which restaurant staff has significant control.[1] Energy conscious use of kitchen equipment can reduce restaurant energy consumption by up to 7%.[2] Strategies include assigning responsibility for turning off cooking equipment, exhaust fans, and lights between shifts and at the end of the day, keeping lids on stock pots and braising pans, flushing broilers, and defrosting freezers. Simple measures such as turning off sections of griddles and broilers during slow periods or eliminating long oven preheat times can save hundreds of dollars and millions of BTUs. Simple measures applicable to other sectors that can be effective include displaying reminders to turn off lights, setting thermostats appropriately, and turning off all electronic equipment at night via a power strip to eliminate phantom loads. Our education program will teach these techniques and we will monitor utility bills to evaluate their effectiveness.

The following restaurants are currently participating in the Green Restaurant Initiative:

  • Bouchon
  • The French Broad Chocolate Lounge
  • The Corner Kitchen
  • The Green Sage (both locations)
  • Fiores Ristorante Toscana (both locations)
  • Frankie Bones
  • Homegrown
  • Laughing Seed Cafe
  • Jack of the Wood
  • Luella's BBQ
  • Tupelo Honey Cafe (both locations)
  • Neo Cantina
  • Rosetta's Kitchen
  • Posana Cafe