The University of California-Santa Cruz has implemented an aggressive sustainability program over the past several years. Ten of the campus' restaurants, including its commissary and catering department, are Green Business Certified.
Pay attention to operating practices. “Being sustainable is not just about the efficiency of your equipment. It is also about implementing best practices, doing business as you should be doing it. Local sourcing is part of it, but so are efforts at pollution prevention, pre-consumer waste collection and composting, scraping and recyling grease, and so on. Manage dishrooms carefiully. Use green chemicals but also ensure you aren't wasting chemicals. Make sure that when the machine runs, racks are full and loaded correctly. Even if you don't have a pulper, use a trough to recycle water.”
Target refrigeration. “Compressors are very energy intensive and they throw off a lot of waste heat that then has to be removed from the space. If you are remodeling, get all the compressors on a rack instead of placing them with the equipment they are cooling. Locate the rack to minimize heat gain inside your building.”
Keep your mind open to new technology. “We have just installed solar operated trash compactors that operate on photovoltaic cells. Grants helped pay for them and it does reduce landfill volume. We recently learned of a power-generating device that runs on waste cooking oil and that is something we are investigating.”