Chipotle makes major commitment to solar power
Denver Chipotle Mexican Grill said Tuesday it is partnering with Houston-based Standard Renewable Energy to install solar panels on approximately 75 Chipotle restaurants over the next year. In all, the chain has committed to panels that will produce 500 kilowatt hours of electricity, making Chipotle the largest direct producer of solar energy in the restaurant industry.
The goal, Chipotle said, is to reduce each restaurant’s energy consumption during peak hours — 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. — when pressure on the energy grid is the greatest. The amount of power produced through the solar program will eliminate more than 41 million pounds of CO2 emissions.
“Our effort to change the way people think about and eat fast food began with our commitment to serving food made with ingredients from more sustainable sources, and that same kind of thinking now influences all areas of our business,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “Today, we’re following a similar path in the way we design and build restaurants, looking for more environmentally friendly building materials and systems that make our restaurants more efficient.”
The solar-panel installation has already begun on units in select cities, including Denver and the Texas cities of Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. The selection of the participating restaurants was based on evaluations of the individual location’s electricity consumption, local utility solar rebates and access to direct sunlight.
The solar initiative is one in a series of steps Chipotle has taken to reduce its carbon footprint. Chipotle was the first restaurant ever to receive Platinum level LEED certification – the highest level — by the U.S. Green Building Council for its Gurnee, Ill., restaurant that features an on-site wind turbine and an underground cistern to harvest rainwater for irrigation.
In addition, all of Chipotle`s new restaurants include some environmentally friendly materials or systems, including low VOC paints and sealants, recycled drywall and stainless steel, photocell light controls that regulate electric lighting based on availability of natural lighting, or low-E window glass that helps reduce heating and cooling needs.
Loblaw’s to launch program to convert organic waste to electricity
Bramption, Ontario Grocer Loblaw Cos. and Canadian biogas company StormFisher Biogas have agreed to convert all of the organic trimmings produced at Loblaw corporate grocery stores in southwestern Ontario into renewable energy at a new StormFisher renewable-energy facility in London, Ontario.
According to a report in Progressive Grocer, the 47 Loblaw stores covered by the agreement are expected to provide organics that can generate the same amount of electricity as that used by about 225 homes annually, thereby reducing over 300 tons of CO2 equivalent yearly.
The StormFisher facility is slated to begin operation in late 2010.
A subsidiary of George Weston, Loblaw operates more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores across Canada.
J.C. Penney recognized for green efforts
Plano, Texas J.C. Penney Co. said late Monday it has been recognized by Dow Jones as one of the leading companies in North America for corporate sustainability.
J.C. Penney also ranked No. 44 in Newsweek magazine’s inaugural Green Rankings, which selected the 500 “Greenest Big Companies in America.”
“Being named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and included in Newsweek’s first Green Rankings is welcome recognition for the work being done by our associates across the company to incorporate sustainable practices into our business,” said Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III, chairman and CEO.
The DJSI North America selects the top 20% of companies in sustainability performance from the 600 largest companies in North America.