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Restaurant industry sustainability: barriers and solutions to sustainable practice indicators

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Restaurants have a cumulative impact on the environment, economy, and society. The majority of restaurants are small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Review of sustainability and industry literature revealed that considering restaurants as businesses with sustainable development options is the most appropriate way

Restaurants have a cumulative impact on the environment, economy, and society. The majority of restaurants are small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs). Review of sustainability and industry literature revealed that considering restaurants as businesses with sustainable development options is the most appropriate way to evaluate their sustainable practices or lack thereof. Sustainable development is the means by which a company progresses towards achieving an identified set of sustainability goals and harnesses competitive advantage. The purpose of this thesis is to identify barriers to implementing sustainable practices in restaurants, and explore ways that restaurateurs can incorporate sustainable business practices. Energy consumption, water use, waste production, and food throughput are the four sustainability indicators addressed in this thesis. Interviews were conducted with five Tempe, Arizona restaurants, two of which consider their operations to be sustainable, and three of which are traditional restaurants. Results show that for traditional restaurants, the primary barriers to implementing sustainable business practices are cost, lack of awareness, and space. For sustainability-marketed restaurants, the barriers included a lack of knowledge or legal concerns. The sustainability-marketed restaurants have energy-efficient equipment and locally source a majority of their food purchases. There is a marked difference between the two types of restaurants in perception of barriers to sustainable business practices. I created a matrix to identify whether each indicator metric was applicable and present at a particular restaurant, and the potential barriers to implementing sustainable practices in each of the four indicator areas. Restaurants can use the assessment matrix to compare their current practices with sustainable practices and find ways to implement new or enhance existing sustainable practices. Identifying the barriers from within restaurants increases our understanding of the reasons why sustainable practices are not automatically adopted by SMEs. The assessment matrix can help restaurants overcome barriers to achieving sustainability by highlighting how to incorporate sustainable business practices.

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Date Created
2011

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Comparative analysis of benchmarking and audit tools

Description

Among the various end-use sectors, the commercial sector is expected to have the second-largest increase in total primary energy consump¬tion from 2009 to 2035 (5.8 quadrillion Btu) with a growth rate of 1.1% per year, it is the fastest growing

Among the various end-use sectors, the commercial sector is expected to have the second-largest increase in total primary energy consump¬tion from 2009 to 2035 (5.8 quadrillion Btu) with a growth rate of 1.1% per year, it is the fastest growing end-use sectors. In order to make major gains in reducing U.S. building energy use commercial sector buildings must be improved. Energy benchmarking of buildings gives the facility manager or the building owner a quick evaluation of energy use and the potential for energy savings. It is the process of comparing the energy performance of a building to standards and codes, to a set target performance or to a range of energy performance values of similar buildings in order to help assess opportunities for improvement. Commissioning of buildings is the process of ensuring that systems are designed, installed, functionally tested and capable of being operated and maintained according to the owner's operational needs. It is the first stage in the building upgrade process after it has been assessed using benchmarking tools. The staged approach accounts for the interactions among all the energy flows in a building and produces a systematic method for planning upgrades that increase energy savings. This research compares and analyzes selected benchmarking and retrocommissioning tools to validate their accuracy such that they could be used in the initial audit process of a building. The benchmarking study analyzes the Energy Use Intensities (EUIs) and Ratings assigned by Portfolio Manager and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Spreadsheets. The 90.1 Prototype models and Commercial Reference Building model for Large Office building type were used for this comparative analysis. A case-study building from the DOE - funded Energize Phoenix program was also benchmarked for its EUI and rating. The retrocommissioning study was conducted by modeling these prototype models and the case-study building in the Facility Energy Decision System (FEDS) tool to simulate their energy consumption and analyze the retrofits suggested by the tool. The results of the benchmarking study proved that a benchmarking tool could be used as a first step in the audit process, encouraging the building owner to conduct an energy audit and realize the energy savings potential. The retrocommissioning study established the validity of FEDS as an accurate tool to simulate a building for its energy performance using basic inputs and to accurately predict the energy savings achieved by the retrofits recommended on the basis of maximum LCC savings.

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Date Created
2011