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Re: E-M:/ Individual Energy Activism, Restaurants

Frank, this is such a great idea and perfect for a non-profit or individual like yourself to get a grant for.

Not only is the commercial building payback for CFLs 6 months to a year which is like putting the same money spent on CFLs in a savings account earning 100-200% interest, it's an even faster payback when you add in air conditioning savings (reduced heat removal) and reduced maintenance costs (bulb changing).

The payback and pollution avoided are even greater when CFLs are used in cold cases, walk in coolers and cold storage facilities. (the payback is only weeks not months)

CFL vs coal is a dead horse. So is Prius vs SmartCar. CFLs and Priuses win.

But LEDs still have a huge way to go (unit cost, installed cost, improper installation, improper application, etc) before they offer a clear money savings opportunity.

We can't expect businesses to light themselves with hemp candles. So we must offer a less ridiculous alternative that will reduce pollution AND save money (that filthy buck that everybody sneers at but slugs to get)

Recycling is still the weakspot with CFLs but regardless, they are THE low hanging energy savings fruit. (turning off lights is conservation, not efficiency) When money savings, labor reductions and bank interest equivalent are sold as ideas inter-related to pollution avoidance, the thing we are trying to sell becomes far more attractive than just forcing it down the customer's throat just on the "environmental" principle that people outside the choir haven't bought into yet.

"avoids pollution AND saves money" is something I learned 7 years ago from Dr. Debra Rowe (on this list) at a community college. You'd think by now that statement would be the norm in broad environmental and energy messaging. But it's not.

Even some home performance industry leaders here in the vaunted San Francisco bay area don't know how to sell energy savings. Somebody calls and says "my bills are high, my house is too cold or too hot and there's a moisture and odor and dust problem". So the home performance people do a blower door test and then recommend duct balancing/sealing/rework, $500 Home Depot 80% efficient furnace, (less maintenance and other issues), an air exchanger, evelope sealing, insulation, a double sealed attic hatch assembly, basement/crawlspace sealing, a couple new doors and windows (not all) and a couple other simple things. No solar, no heat pumps, no home automation or other fancy things that offer little bang for the buck. But the customer balks at the $25,000 price with only a $700 annual energy savings and no solar sexiness or gadgetry.

Should the installer pocket the blower door fee and walk away? Or try to rephrase the customer's original desires and get them to buy the project?

The answer is break it down. $25,000 divided by 3 = about $8,000. Ask the customer: "is it worth $8,000 to have more comfort? (they just bought $8,000 in living room furniture) "yes". Ok. "is it worth $8,000 to save $700 a year in energy? (the payback is 10 years or 8% bank interest) "yes". Ok. "Is it worth $8,000 to get at least $8,000 or more in resale value AND a faster sale when you need to move? "yes". Ok, job sold.

"but I don't want people to think I'm just a sleazy salesperson". This is a very passive and delusional attitude because whoever says this IS a salesperson everytime they try to tell somebody to respect the environment for the environment's sake.

We can either feel guilty and superior about not using Republican sales tactics that work well and make them rich or we can use those techniques against them to sell energy & environmental issues successfully outside the choir. Right now, as we speak, Republicans are studying the success of MoveOn.org to beat us at our own game next election.

In some ways, environmentalism is moving rapidly in the right direction, solar is sexy, pollution regs & incentives are coming, hopefully home performance retrofits will be mandatory, etc.

But in other ways, environmentalism is moving very slowly ("it shouldn't be about money, it should be about the environment") and years later we will look back at various points in time where we could have sped up the evolution process.

We should stop wasting time insisting people believe in OUR goals while we ignore theirs.

As long as they save energy and are good to the environment, who cares if they did it to save money? When it comes to things that don't have an economic incentive, we can cross that bridge when we get to it. At least by then, the notion of environmental benefits will already be positively ingrained and understood and be more likely to be supported.

We need to meet people where THEY are because they will eventually come around to our way (environmental health) once they see that their needs (financial) can also be met.

By nature, people WANT to be nice.

Mike Cohn

On Sun, Dec 28, 2008 at 8:35 PM, Gayle Miller <gayle.miller@sierraclub.org> wrote:
Enviro-Mich message from "Gayle Miller" <gayle.miller@sierraclub.org>

This is a very cool idea. CFLs definitely reduce the carbon footprint of
lighting just by being so much more efficient. I'd guess for most restaurant
or business owners, the big issue for them is cost, not the carbon or coal
savings. And you can't argue with the cost figures!
Happy New Year!

Gayle Miller
Legislative Director
Sierra Club
109 E. Grand River Ave.
Lansing, MI 48906
ph - (517) 484-2372, ext. 13
fax - (517) 484-3108

Sign up to receive legislative alerts at:

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
[mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Alexander J. Sagady
Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 10:50 PM
To: FRANKZAS@aol.com; enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Individual Energy Activism, Restaurants

Enviro-Mich message from "Alexander J. Sagady" <ajs@sagady.com>

At 09:34 PM 12/28/2008, you wrote:

>Besides saving over $1,000 a year in electric bills, CFLs are good for the
environment. Polls have shown that most people in Michigan (including your
customers) believe global warming is a very serious threat to mankind and
something urgent has to be done. Using CFLs will show that your restaurant
is environmentally responsible. Using the calculator above, 20 CFLs will
save over 5,900 pounds of coal at an electric plant and 22, 600 pounds of
carbon dioxide.

I generally don't trust these kinds of online calculators.

Does not burning 5900 lbs of coal yield an emission reduction of
22,600 lbs of carbon monoxide?  No.

Lets do the back of the envelope calc.

the combustion reaction is    C  +  O2   yields   CO2
Carbon has a molecular weight of 12 and carbon dioxide
has a molecular weight of 44

One mole of carbon burned yields one mole of carbon dioxide.  Thus,
burning 12 lbs of carbon yields 44 lbs of carbon dioxide.

If the 5900 lbs of coal were 100% carbon (it is not), the most CO2
emission reduction could be  is 44 * 5900/12   = 21,600 lbs of CO2.

Carbon content of coal ranges from 60-80%, depending on the mine source,
so lets roll this back by at least 20%, so the final carbon monoxide
reduction from not burning 5900 lbs of coal is more like 17,000 lbs of
CO2, and probably less in Michigan given the amount of western low sulfur
we are presently burning with its lower carbon content compared to eastern
and southern coal (but also with a lower BTU value).

Here is a site that explores the issue in more detail.


Finally, someone needs to go and audit the facilities in China making these
CFL bulbs for their mercury management techniques and health and safety

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

dateSun, Dec 28, 2008 at 6:34 PM
subjectE-M:/ Individual Energy Activism, Restaurants

hide details 6:34 PM (7 hours ago)

One way to cut greenhouse gas emissions and the need for new coal plants is to become more energy efficient. Besides cutting our own energy usage, we can help others to do so. We don't have to wait for State and Federal programs to have an impact.
In the spirit of individual energy activism, we can all encourage and inform others to become more energy efficient. The following is a handout successfully used at local restaurants that don't seem to be efficient. If you know of one, give (or mail) the following to the owner or manager. They will most likely appreciate it and the money they will save.
Happy Holidays,  frank



I was eating in your restaurant and noticed you are not using energy efficient light bulbs. So, I am leaving this information for your attention. (I am concerned about the environment and not a salesperson.)


Thank you, ___________________________


Energy Efficiency for Restaurants

Save $$$ Hundreds per Month


Many restaurant chains in Michigan are saving hundreds of dollars a month in each facility by becoming more energy efficient. They have a cost advantage over other restaurants. Examples include: Bob Evans, Starbucks, McDonalds, Subway, Denny's and Culver's. They have switched to efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), T8 fluorescent and LED lighting, more efficient building and water heating, air conditioning, food preparation equipment, motion detectors, recycling and employee training.


One quick and inexpensive way to become more energy efficient is to change from incandescent light bulbs to CFLs. Many restaurants in this area are now using CFLs.  Here are examples of the many benefits of CFLs:


If a restaurant changes just 20, 100W incandescent light bulbs for 20 CFLs, they will save $2,090 over two years (see http://www.newbulbintown.com/calculator/) 


·          CFLs last up to 10,000 hours and none will have to be changed for 2 years assuming they are turned on roughly 80 hours per week.


·          In contrast, incandescent light bulbs last less than 1,000 hours and over 200 will be needed over 2 years. Changing 200 light bulbs is time consuming, costly and sometimes dangerous. (The labor cost of changing these bulbs is included in the above calculation.)


·          20 CFLs will cost about $50.00 and 200 incandescent will cost about $100.00.  Lowe's and Home Depot sell 5 in a package for around $10.00. Fancier globe shaped CFLs cost around $5.00 each. The above, substantial savings are calculated using $5.00 per bulb.


·          CFLs produce 90% less heat and this lowers air conditioning costs.


Besides saving over $1,000 a year in electric bills, CFLs are good for the environment. Polls have shown that most people in Michigan (including your customers) believe global warming is a very serious threat to mankind and something urgent has to be done. Using CFLs will show that your restaurant is environmentally responsible. Using the calculator above, 20 CFLs will save over 5,900 pounds of coal at an electric plant and 22, 600 pounds of carbon dioxide.


CFLs contain a small bit of mercury, but roughly 4 times less than older fluorescent tubes. Some commentators have blown this out of proportion. Should one break, there is an easy and safe procedure listed in this site.  http://www.newbulbintown.com/about/cfl_break.aspx  It is not a big cleanup problem.


In addition to lighting, the following Energy Star site describes the many other ways a restaurant can become more energy efficient and save considerable money plus the environment.


More:  http://conserve.restaurant.org/docs/ecostory_focus_on_lighting_20081113.pdf

And:  http://www.fypower.org/pdf/BPG_RestaurantEnergyEfficiency.pdf