Bakery makes energy efficiency a key ingredient

Bakery makes energy efficiency a key ingredient

CEO Ben Davis serves up energy efficiency at Grand Central Baking Company

In Portland, Grand Central Baking Company serves up a wide range of breads and pastries, dine-in lunch, catering and wholesale delivery to more than 150 local restaurants. The recipe for success for the fast-growing, 200-employee company includes being a responsible community member, with a focus on environmental stewardship and sustainable business practices.

The company recognizes that expanding its business means managing its resources—including energy—more wisely to minimize its environmental footprint. Its efforts include making energy-efficiency upgrades to its facilities, sourcing ingredients locally, keeping its facilities close together to maintain an efficient delivery route and encouraging employees to commute by bicycle.

Recently, the company wanted to upgrade its lighting to improve customers’ dining experiences while reducing energy use and costs. While researching LED technology on Energy Trust of Oregon’s website, Ben Davis, president of Grand Central Baking Company, learned about incentives for energy-efficiency projects.

“It was an easy decision after crunching the numbers,” said Davis. “I went from ‘Let’s talk about this’ to ‘I don’t even need to talk, let’s do this.’ Saving energy and resources is a passion of mine. You have to keep an eye to the future, and your children’s future. Everybody needs to do a little something.”

Lighting upgrades in all of the locations required about 200 LED bulbs, which were installed by the business’s in-house maintenance staff. The LEDs replaced older, less efficient incandescent bulbs and brightened the spaces. LEDs also last longer than incandescent bulbs, which means less frequent replacements for the bakery’s maintenance staff.

Energy Trust provided Grand Central Baking Company with $5,232 in cash and bonus incentives, covering about one-half the cost of the upgrades in all seven locations. The bakery’s locations are also seeing unanticipated savings on cooling costs. The new LEDs emit less heat than the old, inefficient incandescent lights, keeping the restaurants cooler. “Now the air conditioning can keep up,” Davis said.