·      Over 90% of electricity produced in the U.S. comes from polluting non-renewable sources such as coal, petroleum, natural gas and nuclear power. 

·      The burning of these non-renewable materials is the number one cause of industrial air pollution around the globe. 


·      Decrease our consumption and waste of energy

·      Source more of our energy from renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal

The restaurant industry consumes 1/3 of all U.S. energy used by the retail sector, and is five times more energy intensive than other retail, office and lodging industries. 

Energy profile of the average restaurant (65.6):

Food Preparation – Appliances = 22%

Sanitation = 18%

HVAC = 17%

Lighting = 13%

Food Preparation – All other == 13%

Kitchen exhaust and ventilation = 11%

Refrigeration = 6%

In California, there are approximately 100,000 food service operations, which annually spend $3.3 billion for energy. These restaurants operate roughly one million kitchen appliances. A single commercial appliance can use more energy than a typical residence. In California alone, existing energy efficient technologies can provide an estimated $657 million in energy savings. 

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that in 2010, electricity was supplied by the following sources (67): 

1. Petroleum = 15.6%

2. Natural Gas = 29.4% 

3. Coal = 29.4%

4. Renewable = 10.7%

5. Nuclear Electric Power = 11.3%

The generation of electric power produces more pollution than any other single industry in the U.S. In 2009, the U.S. electricity industry was responsible for: 

·      67% of all emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), the leading component of acid rain and fine particulates 

·      41% of all man-made global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), and 8% of total CH4, two leading greenhouse gases believed to contribute to global warming & climate change (68) 

·      25% of all emissions of nitrogen oxides (N2O), a key component of ozone (smog), acid rain, and fine particulates 

·      34% of all emissions of mercury (Hg), a toxic heavy metal that accumulates as you move up the food chain 

One way to decrease the emissions of these toxic pollutants is to harness energy from renewable resources. 

Solar - The amount of sunlight the Earth receives in 30 minutes is equivalent to the total amount of power used on Earth in one year. More than 200,000 homes already use solar power, either by using solar water heating (SWH) or solar pool heating (SPH) system, as do some corporate buildings. And the number is increasing at a rate of more than 65,000 homes and businesses every year (68.3). Photovoltaic modules covering less than a half% of the total land in the U.S. could supply all of the electrical needs of the country. San Diego Mayoral candidate Jim Bell has calculated that “if we only covered 20% of what's already covered by parking lots and buildings with solar cells, our region could be completely energy self sufficient.”

Wind - Wind power was the fastest growing energy source in the world during most of the 1990s and 2000s. In 2010 wind power accounted for 2.3% of the electricity generated in the United States. Texas has the most installed wind power capacity, followed by Iowa. The Roscoe Wind Farm in Texas is the largest wind farm in the US as of 2009, and it alone has 780MW of generation capacity (68.4). 

Geothermal - Geothermal power is harnessed from the Earth’s fiery consolidation of dust and gas over 4 billion years ago.  Since the 1960s, France has used  geothermal energy from warm water flowing up to the earth surface layer to heat close to 200,000 homes. Considering that our earth’s interior is just like the sun, which provides heat energy naturally, humans can capture the inner heat and transmit it into warmth and power without polluting the environment. Recently, more and more technologies have been  developed to assist humans to utilize geothermal power more easily and efficiently (68.5).



·      The average food service facility uses 300,000 gallons of water per year. 

·      Many areas of the world regularly experience water shortages


·      Reduce water usage in your operations

Many Americans take for granted that there will always be plenty of fresh water. Unfortunately, however, the fact is exactly the opposite. Only 3% of total water on the earth is fresh water, which can be treated and supplied as our drinking water and for other household activities purpose. Due to pollution, climate change, inefficiency and the increase in global population, the storage of fresh water has been decreasing and hardly meet everyone’s water demand. In many regions, water scarcity is a severe problem, threatening human health and social and economic development. According to a 2010 report released by the US Natural Resources Defense Council, more than one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states will likely be facing very serious water shortages by 2050 (68.6).


Restaurants use water in a variety of ways: 

Food Preparation - Appliances such as steamers and pasta cookers = 35%

HVAC - Evaporative cooling = 28%

Sanitation – Dish machines, pre-rinse sprayers = 18%

Refrigeration - Water cooled ice machines = 6%

Simply purchasing water efficient equipment can make a huge difference in a restaurant’s water profile. 

But that’s not the whole story. We also need to consider the water that is served to customers. In the U.S., an estimated 70 million meals are served restaurants each day. If one-quarter of the customers declined water service, 26 million gallons of fresh water would be saved every day.


Additional resources:


Natural Resources Defense Council.