Case Study: A Success Story in Saving Green by Going Green

Case Study: A Success Story in Saving Green by Going Green

An independent operator shares his story.

Who: Jose Duarte, chef/owner

What: Taranta restaurant, Boston

Size: 70 seats

Concept: Southern Italian meets Peruvian cuisine

Volume: less than $1 million annual sales

Opened: July 2000

Green milestones: Became certified green restaurant in 2007 by the Green Restaurant Association; City of Boston Green Business Award, 2008

Taranta restaurant, Boston

Like most independent operators, Jose Duarte, chef/owner of Boston's Taranta, is always seeking ways to control costs. His road to green, eco-friendly practices was paved by simple mathematics. "I started looking into ways I could save money through cutting down on the restaurant's operating overhead," says Duarte. "The results were amazing, so it snowballed from there. If you save energy, you save money—it's that simple."

Since starting his quest two years ago, he has implemented more than 30 green upgrades to his restaurant, including the installation of tankless water heaters, water-conserving spray heads and energy-efficient lighting. Through his efforts to save money on energy costs, he has found his calling in life. "I now look at every business decision with an eye toward being eco-friendly," he says. On top of the cost savings, Duarte says there are other windfalls. "Eco-friendly practices have become relevant to our customers," he says. "They care, and although we don't market ourselves as a green restaurant, they find us. And the press! You get a lot of press when you make strides for the environment."

5 Easy Changes that Saved Him Money

1. Installed two DW-200 Dual Technology Dual Relay Wall Switch Sensors in both bathrooms.

2. Installed two XL-C XLERETOR hand dryers. "They use 80% less energy than any other electric hand dryer," says Duarte. He predicts that the dryers will pay for themselves in less than a year, and will offer a 95% cost savings over paper towels.

3. Switched to paper on top of tables instead of linens to minimize industrial washing. "This will help us save money, and we will be mixing the used paper with all compostable items as soon as we are ready to start separating all organic materials," he says. Currently, he's looking for post-consumer paper roll.

4. Installed tankless water heaters. Back in January, Taranta's 100-gallon water-heater tank broke. "The cost of replacing with a similar tank was way over 10K," says Duarte. "We then started research on what can we install that is energy efficient and environmentally friendly." He landed on three Takagi TK-3 tankless heaters. "We are receiving a $300 rebate per unit," he says. "The cost of installing the equipment was less than replacing [the old one with a traditional tank], and we will be saving at least 40% more gas than [if we were] running a tank."

5. Installed low-flow/pre-rinse spray valves. "It's one of the easiest and most cost effective energy-saving devices available for restaurants," says Duarte. In addition to minimizing water consumption, water-heating energy and sewer charges are also reduced. "Our diswashers love the product because it is easier for them to rinse dishes before running them through the dish machine," he says. According to Duarte, replacing a typical spray valve that flows up to three gallons of water per minute (GPM) with a low-flow unit (1.24 GPM) can yield the following results:


1 hour of use/day = 60 gallons (water savings)2 hours of use/day = 120 gallons3 hours of use/day = 180 gallons


Conserve and Save

  • By leaving the broiler turned off for one extra hour a day, a restaurant can save $450 a year.

  • For every incandescent light bulb replaced by a compact fluorescent, a restaurant can save up to $30 in electricity costs over the light bulb's lifetime.

  • Installing a reflective roof can directly save up to 40% in heating and cooling costs.

  • Letting a faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours.

  • The money you save on operating costs (through energy efficiency) adds to what you get to keep, so saving 20% on energy operating costs can increase your profit as much as 33%.

    Source: The National Restaurant Association's Conserve Initiative. For more information, go to

According to Energy Star, a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department, the average business can save 30% or more on their bills through money-saving investments in energy efficiency.

Saving Green by Going Green