In 2009, we began to investigate ways to build more sustainable restaurants with lower carbon emissions by piloting energy saving measures in two eco stores. Technologies successfully tested in these restaurants are now standard in major refurbishments, where technically feasible. For example:
- We fit all our new stores with the most efficient lighting and will install energy efficient LED lighting in all company-owned restaurants by the end of February 2014
- Voltage optimisation trials have delivered a 5-10% energy saving in pilot restaurants
- Three restaurants are trialling energy management systems, with a target of reducing energy use by 10%. We plan to expand this trial to another four restaurants
We have developed artwork to make customers aware of our efforts, and have fully briefed team members.
All company-owned stores built or having a major remodel from 2015 will be built to the standards of the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) programme, though they needn’t apply for certification.
We opened our first eco-restaurant at Wisbech in Cambridgeshire in March 2010, where we tested 19 environmental initiatives. Of these, we have since rolled out 12 measures to new restaurants and major remodels. These include installing LED lighting, control systems for walk-in freezers, dual-flush cisterns in toilets, waterless urinals, solar water-heating panels and bicycle racks, removing over-door heaters, increasing insulation thickness by a third, and using more environmentally sound construction materials.
Wincanton in Somerset provided our second eco store, which opened in September 2012. It has achieved LEED Gold standard and a BREEAM Very Good rating. We expect the store to save more than 310 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year - the equivalent of taking 22 cars off the road. By monitoring energy use in every piece of equipment in the store and comparing this with a more standard restaurant, we can quantify both cost and environmental savings, and how long the investment will take to pay for itself.
Many of the energy reductions come from a more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. An energy management system controls all power usage, including when to turn on and off each fryer. This level of monitoring will allow us to optimise the system and avoid waste.
The restaurant also recycles three waste streams: cardboard, kitchen food waste and cooking oil, which is converted on-site into electricity and heat for water.
Other measures include LED lighting throughout the restaurant, including car parks and signage, daylight-saving photocell lights, low water consumption equipment such as low-flow taps and pre-rinse valves.