If you’re running a restaurant in an older building, you may feel like you’re limited in the kinds of energy-efficiency upgrades you can make. After all, replacing entire HVAC systems, pulling out all your old windows, or completely replacing your plumbing may simply be off the table from a cost and business-interruption standpoint.

But it’s not impossible to go green, even in an old building. Take the George Sherman Union food court at Boston University, for example, which recently received the Green Restaurant Association‘s designation as a Certified Green Restaurant—making it the only food court in the US to gain GRA certification.

According to this article by Leslie Friday in BU Today, green-certifying the GSU food court might have seemed impossible: built in the 1960′s, many of the building’s systems didn’t meet modern efficiency standards. However, following a 2010 remodel and the addition of many green-friendly upgrades, the food court is now set to serve as an example to other facilities.

How did the food court go from simply greasy to green?

The GSU:

  • Converted its primary energy source from oil to natural gas
  • Installed 90%-efficient hot water heaters
  • Put in an energy management system that remotely controls water, heating and cooling
  • Purchased Energy Star appliances
  • Installed composting and recycling stations, and offered discounts to patrons using reusable containers
  • Put in low-flow faucets in kitchens
  • Purchased hand dryers for bathrooms

According the article, the building gained almost a third of its points towards certification through energy-efficiency measures—demonstrating that saving energy is a significant step towards going green and saving costs.

What do you think? Even if you’re in an older building, are there steps you could take to cut your energy costs?

Image credit: Yellow.Cat