It isn’t always easy to introduce energy-efficiency measures in a rented space. Sure, there are things you can do to make your restaurant more energy efficient that don’t involve talking to your landlord—but sometimes, you need to make bigger changes. Maybe you’d like to install high efficiency dishwashers, or add UV coating to your windows.

Whatever your challenge, thanks to our friends at LEAF (Leaders in Environmentally Accountable Foodservice), we’ve got this great guest post on talking to your landlord about energy efficiency:

Renting space is an attractive option for new restaurant owners. However, renting provides limited control over some aspects of the operation, leaving the restaurateur at the mercy of their landlord to implement green practices. Despite repeated requests for simple things such as a bottle-recycling bin, [requests] may go unheard, leaving operators frustrated and resigned.
Don’t go down without a fight. If you’re dealing with a sticky property owner, try these tips:
  • Lay out the benefit clearly and concisely. If possible, show your landlord a direct cost savings to them, in terms of energy, reduced waste hauling costs, etc. A financial incentive is often enough to move things along.
  • Do the legwork. Tell you landlord you have, or will do, all the arrangements—all they have to do is give you the go-ahead. Make it easy for them to say “ok.”
  • Make the best of what you have. Start with the “low hanging fruit”—meaning the easiest things to change. Are there things in your control that will make an impact? Consider takeout containers, addressing food waste, and smart operational practices to reduce energy use.
  • Think ahead. If possible, talk to your potential landlord about your plans and see if they’re in support, prior to leasing a space. Look for LEED building space, and work things like recycling, compost pickup, and energy efficient lighting into your lease.
  • Make a move. Although not ideal, it is an option to move locations if your landlord continuously interferes with your values.

Image credit: Bob Doran