The wave effect of renewable energy is gradually picking up speed as more businesses are making wiser choices in the way they operate, thanks in part to the efforts of several great organizations that promote green business and green restaurants in particular. Non-profit organizations such as Thimmakka are making names for themselves by assisting existing business’ efforts to change for the better. Founded in 1998 by Ritu Primlani, Thimmakka has been working hard to create practical, quantifiable, and economically-viable systemic solutions to critical global environmental problems. Thimmakka helps to transform everyday business practices to form a unique fit under Green Business Program guidelines that will yield both monetary and economic benefits. These guidelines are set by Thimmakka to serve as a benchmark for Green Business certification.
This Bay Area based organization has made phenomenal strides in the race towards sustainability. According to their web site, Thimmakka doubled the City of Berkeley’s number of certified green businesses in just one year! Berkeley now has the highest number of green businesses in the entire bay area. According to Thimmakka, their efforts have accomplished the following:
- 19.4 thousand tons of solid waste has been diverted from landfills
- 10.8 million gallons of water have been saved
- 940.5 thousand KWh of energy have been conserved
- 473 thousand pounds of carbon dioxide have been prevented from being released into the atmosphere
- 1.3 million dollars have been saved in only 5 years
Thimmakka is not alone in their advocacy of green business. 500 Gallons and the Green Restaurant Association are just a few of the many organizations that are making a difference. Wiser economic choices are also reducing energy costs. That sounds like a win-win situation. What other organizations do you know of that are working to help encourage restaurants to save resources an reduce energy costs? We’d love to hear about them!
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Just north of San Francisco lies Marin County, home to the only solar-powered pizzeria chain in the United States, Stefano’s Solar Powered Pizzeria. Stefano’s uses solar panels to generate the majority, if not all, of the electricity used in each store. In fact, solar power provides 100% of the electricity used to run Stefano’s Mill Valley location. In light of their green efforts, the Marin County Board of Supervisors has accredited Stefano’s Solar Powered Pizzeria as a Marin Green business. In order to become a Marin Green Business, the company must pledge to stay green and identify ways to conserve resources, conserve energy, reduce waste, and prevent pollution. More information can be found at www.marincounty.org/Business/Sustainability/Green-Program.
Stefano’s Solar Powered Pizza, http://www.stefanossolarpizza.com
Stefano’s solar panels were installed in June 2004 for $111,000 after rebates. Rebates can be given from the government for installing solar panels depending on equipment efficiencies, according to government criteria (http://www.solarrebates.com/). Having accreditations like Marin Green Business will also merit more rebates and savings. After installing their solar panels, the pizzeria experienced a drastic change in their PG&E bill, dropping from just under $1000 a month to a mere $6.75 a month. The panels’ payback period should be about 8 to 9 years and are guaranteed to last 25 years. Imagine dropping your PG&E bill by over 99 percent! The restaurants are still able to maintain their product quality and competitive prices using the solar panels.
Stefano’s Solar Powered Pizza made the wiser choice by installing the panels and the benefits have taken full bloom. The government has realized the importance of renewable energy sources and is doing its part to make them more affordable and practical. There has been a lot of talk about using renewable energy sources; unfortunately a lot of it has been just talk. Stefano’s has put their money where their mouth is, and set a fabulous example for more businesses to do the same. Who’s next? Stay tuned!