They’re calling 2014 the year of restaurant sustainability — but before we even think of taking on another year, we should take a look back at this one and praise the efforts made by different businesses in 2013.

Here’s a list of the top five energy habits businesses hooked themselves up with this year!

Installing energy management systems

This has been a hit in both the food service and the accommodations sectors. Restaurants and hotels have been tracking their energy usage and maximizing their energy efficiency by investing in energy management systems as a useful tool.

From the M Resort in Las Vegas betting on energy efficiency by getting involved with a utility demand response program to decrease their energy waste to fast food chains like Arby’s installing energy management systems so they could target energy saving opportunities.

The installation of these sweet energy management systems has become an energy habit picked up by the business world.

Getting into renewable energy

With businesses considering long-term benefits of installing energy sources like solar panels, wind power and geothermal heating/cooling; the movement to a more sustainable future is becoming brighter (and more energy efficient)!

Retailers like Loblaws have installed solar panels on the roof of their stores and have a system set up to send energy back into the grid in Ontario.

More and more businesses are about investing in the renewable energy option as a smart business decision when it comes to energy savings and because, let’s be honest, green is a great look on any company.

Waste reduction

Recycling programs and the efforts of individual businesses have done well with encouraging waste reduction this year.

In fact, companies like Honda and General Motors have standing behind a zero-waste label this year, as they impressed folks with their environmental visions when they added these sustainability initiatives to their core values.

Green building designs

This has been a great year for new green buildings popping up around the world. From hotels receiving Green Globe certifications (reaching 90 per cent of the criteria to be considered a green building) to the Netherlands being the host to the new greenest industrial building in Europe this year.

The best part about these green building designs is that they take into account the energy and water efficiency — maximizing both. Even before construction, things like daylighting, heating, cooling and water harvesting are taken into consideration. Often, renewable energy options are also built in (solar panels and geothermal heating). This is a trend we can stand behind!

Sustainability focus and environmental initiatives

The best part about 2013 is the fact that more and more companies are jumping on the sustainability-focused bandwagon. This means businesses are becoming concerned with their environmental images and are working towards reducing their energy consumption to achieve it. Sustainability initiatives have been created — and many companies are actually following through.

Companies are educating and training their staff — the understanding of sustainability and energy efficiency is spreading and eventually it’ll become the new norm.

With whole cities like Masdar City popping up, the future is looking bright and green.


Image credit: Claudio Schwarz