One of the new features at SPECS/2009 was a dedicated foodservice workshop track. While open to all attendees, the track was created to address restaurant operators’ interests and concerns. The topics discussed ranged from sustainability and green building to hoods and grease traps.
The workshop, “Sustainable Restaurant Case Studies,” provided attendees with real data comparisons of various sustainable initiatives from McDonald’s, Subway and Chipotle Mexican Grill, along with an overview of pilot projects LEED for Retail 2009 (both for Commercial Interiors and New Constructions and Major Renovations). Ralph DiNola, principal, Green Building Services, Portland, Ore., led the discussion.
John Rockwell, LEED quality manager, McDonald’s, gave an overview of the chain’s U.S. green building strategy. He also discussed the highlights of the company’s new green restaurant in Chicago. It includes such features as LED lighting, native landscaping, high-efficiency HVAC equipment, tubular skylights and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
Brad Davis, director of equipment purchasing, IPC, Subway-franchisee owned purchasing cooperative, discussed Subway’s green prototype in Kissimmee, Fla., which emphasizes reduced energy consumption, reduced water consumption and increased indoor environmental quality. The prototype is serving as a real-world laboratory for Subway. The chain hopes to validate theoretical savings and produce an ROI on each design element.
Chipotle: Attendees also heard from Scott Shippey, director of design, Chipotle Mexican Grill, who discussed Chipotle’s green store in Gurnee, Ill. The site includes a six-kilowatt wind turbine that is expected to contribute approximately 7.5% of the restaurant’s total energy needs.
The restaurant features a variety of energy-and water-conservation elements, from LED lighting and highly efficient faucets and toilets to Energy Star-rated kitchen equipment and the use of native plants in the landscaping. It also has a highly reflective roof and a 2,500-gal. underground water cistern that harvests rainwater to irrigate the landscape. The parking lot is paved with asphalt that reflects the sun’s heat, making the entire site cooler.
Shippey said that Chipotle’s goal with sustainability is to address all its restaurants with the same integrity that it views its food, which means selecting real estate, and designing, building and maintaining high-performance buildings that significantly reduce or eliminate its impact on the environment.
“Our efforts will maximize both economic and environmental performance,” he said.
Hoods: The foodservice track also featured a detailed discussion on the specifics of hoods and grease traps.
“Traps and interceptors are different,” said Brian Chandler, restaurant business unit mechanical/plumbing group leader, Cubellis, Boston, at the “What You Need to Know About Hoods & Traps” session. “It’s important that foodservice operators know what they want versus what they need.”
A trap is installed inside a restaurant unit, while an interceptor is outside, usually made from about 1,500 gal. of pre-cast concrete construction.
Some restaurateurs will opt for the huge outdoor interceptor with the idea that it will require cleaning just once a year, while the small indoor grease trap would need frequent attention.
“If grease sits, it becomes odorous,” Chandler said. “You can’t allow it to sit in an interceptor—especially one that is installed on the west side of the building where it gets a lot of sun—for a year without cleaning.”
Codes vary from state to state.
“In Florida, code limits the interceptor size to 750 to 1,200 gallons,” said Ted Tillman, director of construction for Oklahoma City-based Sonic America’s Drive In. “A large restaurant may then require six or seven interceptors.”
Yet, others have interpreted the code as referring to compartments, rather than interceptors, Tillman added.
“Find out what the codes mean,” he advised.
Also be aware of the nuances of installation and maintenance. “In Florida, when you put a trap in the ground, you have to put some water in it, because if it rains it will become buoyant and rise up,” Tillman noted.
Restaurant hoods have their nuances as well.
“Six-foot-six-inches and 6-ft.-8-in. are the typical hood installation heights, but the higher you go the worse the hood performs,” David Loschen, north Texas regional sales manager, CaptiveAire, Raleigh, N.C., told attendees.
When specifying an exhaust hood, Loschen offered the following advice: Make sure it is UL-listed, don’t stint on the filter (“buy the best one you can”), and strongly consider going green by buying an energy-management system with a control component built into it and a modulation of fan speeds.
“Expect a payback of one to three years with rebates,” Loschen said. A 20% reduction in fan speed equates to a 48% reduction in fan energy costs.