Chris Toman’s plan to go green could have put him in the red.
The owner of a local pizza franchise plans to apply for LEED certification for his 2,600-square-foot restaurant space on the back burner because it was going to cost too much.
Toman said he would have to pay between $30,000 and $40,000 to become certified by the U.S. Green Building Council under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, which awards points to structures that are energy efficient and otherwise good for the environment.
$40,000 for a small restaurant to get green certified is proportionally a huge expense., plus the cost of the alternative materials such as insulation made of old jeans and coke bottles for a countertop. Would that $40,000 be more profitably spent on advertising?
While going green can sometimes attract additional customers in certain markets, the increase in price compared to the market will divert others to your competitors.
Toman is opening a Pizza Fusion franchise, which requires all of its restaurants to be built to LEED standards, as part of its self-described mission to “Save the Earth one Pizza at a Time.”
Not only are the buildings green, the chain delivers pizzas in hybrid vehicles.
The cost of going green for Pizza Fusions in other markets is less than half of what Toman was told he’d have to pay here.
Much of the cost goes to consulting companies that develop energy-efficiency plans for buildings seeking certification. These firms also make sure the buildings ultimately perform the way they were designed and file reams of paperwork required on all projects regardless of their size.
“It seems like they’re overcharging,” he said. “I’m trying to do the right thing, but someone’s taking advantage of it and charging high rates.”