Green Business

By Adva Biton, Lisa Christensen and Aisley Oliphant | Illustration by Mike Bohman

November 10, 2015

“I think as a company and certainly in our Utah division, we believe sustainability is about balance,” says Skenandore. “It’s about protecting our blue planet and being stewards of our natural resources. We want to encourage all local businesses and residents to embrace and consider sustainable lifestyles, whether it be at home, at work, or the park.”

Taqueria 27

Taqueria 27 may have only opened its doors three years ago, but the “fancy little taco joint,” as Todd Gardiner, who owns the business with his wife, calls it, has already blossomed into three popular locations. At each location, the Gardiners made sure to include a robust recycling program, put in LED lights and use dimmers whenever possible, and use energy-efficient appliances. Gardiner, who has long been in the restaurant business—his whole life, he says—was well prepared to combat the wastefulness he often sees in the industry.

“We do everything we can to minimize our wastefulness,” says Gardiner. “Waste is money. We’re business people. It’s a win-win situation if we waste as little as we possibly can. That goes from electricity to natural gas to resources to the food we bring into the restaurant. It’s all part and parcel of what

we do.”

To that end, the Gardiners try to make sure the restaurants utilize natural light, high-efficiency water heaters and natural gas, along with well-maintained equipment. And they make sure that everyone, from the kitchen to the diners, recycle.

“To be a good business owner you try to minimize impact wherever you can,” says Gardiner.

Renewable Energy

Real Salt Lake & Auric Solar

For Real Salt Lake Owner Dell Loy Hansen, conservation is not a trend or buzzword—it’s good business, and it’s his duty.  “We have the ability and the proactive challenge to create better outcomes for our kids than we had,” he says. “I think it’s both possible and likely.” 

Hansen is more than happy to put his money where his mouth is. Real Salt Lake partnered with Auric Solar to create what is the fourth-biggest solar array on a sports venue in the United States, providing the largest solar offset for any professional sports stadium in the country. Rio Tinto Stadium, the home of the soccer team, boasts a 2,020-killowatt system of solar panels on the structure and on carports, which will offset 73 percent of the stadium’s total power needs and save the team an estimated $300,000 a year.  The offset percentage the array provides is the best in all North American sports venues, according to the team.

“We work at Real … because we want to leave a significant reputation for Utah as one of the best places you can live in the world,” says Hansen. “Real makes this a better place to live. Creating sustainable energy makes this a better place to live.”

Smith’s Food and Drug

Smith’s Food and Drug and its parent company, Kroger, have always been focused on making processes a little more eco-friendly, but solar incentives from Rocky Mountain Power gave executives the bright idea to top the grocery chain’s distribution center in Layton with 4,066 solar panels.

The $2.5 million project was finished in February and has been generating a quarter of the distribution center’s energy—enough to run the entire freezer and dry grocery divisions, says Jason Striefel, senior supply chain manager. Every watt generated trickles down through the company until it shines on the shelf.

“All of the savings here at the distribution center we pass on to the customer at our stores,” Striefel says.

Although the corporation likes to look out for green opportunities, large-investment projects like the solar array are often impractically costly, he says. The incentives offered through Rocky Mountain Power, however, helped defray enough of the cost to make it feasible, he says—the power company will give Smith’s $750,000 in quarterly installments over the next five years. The rest of the cost is an investment Smith’s is making into its future, Striefel says.

“It is a huge investment, but there’s definitely many benefits from doing it,” he says.

Air Quality

Utah Transit Authority

Mass transit itself is considered a “green” method of transportation because of the emissions it cuts from individual cars. Utah Transit Authority is taking that designation a step further by making its fleet the cleanest around—it will have 47 CNG buses by year’s end, in addition to hybrid electric buses—and helping make its transit options as convenient as possible for riders, says Interim President and CEO Jerry Benson.

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