If someone said you could cut your water use by one-quarter with a few new practices in your system of standard operational equipment replacement, would it pique your interest? Or if you were told that with a few additional measures you could eke out 15 percent more energy savings per store, you'd probably listen, right?
No vendor is involved in this pitch, but the federally managed Energy Star program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is, and program leaders have reported that Arby's chain achieved the savings above through strategic equipment replacement using Energy Star-certified solutions.
According to an Energy Star report, those savings are among many achieved through the brand's 5-year-old PurposeFull Corporate Social Responsibility Platform launched as part of a corporate-wide Efficiency Matters program. This initiative aimed to reach 15 percent energy savings per company-owned restaurant by 2015, compared with a 2011 baseline number.
They did it and then some
By 2015, Arby's reached 15.2 percent savings through an intentional, corporate-wide commitment to the program, according to the Energy Star program website. The program is the "most successful voluntary energy efficiency movement in history," according to the website.
The Arby's initiative took a local approach to solving the problem of energy waste. As COO John Bowie put it in the brand's report on the project, "We’re really 3,300 neighborhood businesses determined to make a difference in the communities we serve.”
With more than 400 million guests per year served across these locations, leaders of the Atlanta-based company knew they had an opportunity to get in line with customer expectations about environmental stewardship, while helping the brand save not only energy, but also money.
Arby's program committed to acquiring energy-efficient and cost-effective equipment, while also encouraging employees to incorporate energy efficiency into operations and decision-making processes. Here are some of the savings the brand achieved:
- replacement and use of more than 300 Energy Star-certified gas fryers saved $117,000 in energy costs in 2016 alone;
- new restaurant use of Energy Star-certified refrigeration equipment saves brand about 40 percent in operating cost per unit;
- the expansion of HVAC energy use tracking and management to walk-in and reach-in refrigeration, irrigation and cooking; and the use of Energy Star-certified light commercial air conditioners has reduced energy costs nearly 10 percent; and
- Installation of EPA WaterSense-labeled irrigation controllers at 85 geographically selected restaurants nationally saves 7.4 million gallons every six months — enough water to fill 11 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Arby's is now expanding the WaterSense program to put new irrigation controllers in 196 restaurants in high water-consumption and cost areas, saving the chain one-quarter over its previous water use.
Topics: Social Responsibility