Greenbuild attracts more architects than foodservice professionals.
Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design's Greenbuild 2010 International Forum in Chicago brought plenty of global green building leaders together, but restaurant and foodservice industry professionals were still the minority attendees.
The expo, which took place Nov. 17-19, 2010, covered various topics of efficient design and building construction. In the foodservice arena, the expo held a few seminars, one on waste management and composting for restaurants, but that was about it. Nothing on energy- and water-efficient kitchen equipment selection, designing for efficiency, or other kitchen-focused topics.
Foodservice still falls second to architecture in building construction and design under the LEED guidelines, and many industry professionals have scrutinized this, especially because kitchens are known to use the second greatest amount of energy in buildings, aside from HVAC units, which still intersect with foodservice operations.
The LEED for Retail Pilot Project launched in April 2009 finally brought in the foodservice industry, unveiling a list of guidelines for commercial kitchen designers and consultants to select the most energy- and water-saving equipment on the market. Their points earned for these resource-saving measures would, thanks to the 2009 revisions, now could apply to the project's overall LEED scores.
But since then, there haven't been many improvements to the LEED for Retail rating system pilot project since its official release at the Greenbuild Expo this winter. But now that the system is in place, that could change. Currently, Chipotle, McDonald's, Pizza Fusion and Starbucks make up the foodservice outlets that participated in the pilot and earned LEED certification for certain stores.
"In today's market, savvy retailers see the value in building, designing and constructing environments that enhance the customer experience, nurture a more productive employee base, while saving precious resources," said Scot Horst, Senior Vice President of LEED, USGBC. "LEED for Retail builds on the strengths of other commercial LEED rating systems while taking special care to address the distinct needs of retail spaces, from occupancy demands to waste streams, energy and water use."
Also launched at Greenbuild was the LEED Volume Program, a certification program that was created to streamline and make the LEED certification process faster and more manageable for high-volume property developers such as national retailers, hospitality providers and local, state and federal governments. Utilizing a prototype-based approach, the program enables large-scale organizational builders to deliver a consistent end product, thereby earning LEED certification faster and at a lower cost than would be possible with individual building reviews. The Volume approach also facilitates bulk purchasing and advance ordering of materials, reduced consultancy requirements, more efficient internal processes, greater speed to market, and more precise documentation of corporate sustainability efforts.
Hotels in particular have shown interest in this new program because of their high-volume needs. More than 60 Starwood hotels across almost all nine brands are currently pursuing LEED certification.
The Greenbuild Expo also showcased a handful of "Guaranteed Green" restaurants in Chicago. Guaranteed Green is a program that helps Chicago-area diners identify and support local restaurants that have taken significant, verifiable steps toward protecting the environment. Note, however, that restaurants must first pay fees in order to earn Guaranteed Green designations. These Chicago restaurants included: Avec, Big Jones, Blackbird, Bleeding Heart Bakery, Blind Faith Cafe, Dining Room at Kendall College, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo, Keefer's Restaurant, Poag Mahone's, Roti Mediterranean Grill, Simone's Bar, Sopraffina Marketcaffe, Trattoria No. 10, and Uncommon Ground.