PECI, others to launch Starbucks energy-saving competition

Ten Washington Starbucks stores will compete on energy efficiency under a pilot program designed by PECI and the Snohomish County Public Utility District.
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Ten Washington Starbucks stores will compete on energy efficiency under a pilot program designed by PECI and the Snohomish County Public Utility District. 

The Snohomish County Public Utility District in Washington tapped PECI to design and implement a new approach to energy efficiency that will pit 10 Starbucks coffee shops against each other to see which one can save the most kilowatts.

The 30-day pilot project, funded by a grant from the Bonneville Power Administration, will aim to develop a program that will change employee behavior in order to save energy. PECI and the Snohomish County PUD want to develop a program that can be replicated in other fast-paced retail settings.

"It's an opportunity that hasn't been as well explored and we're hoping to develop a program that can be scaled," said Laura McCrae, principal utility analyst with Snohomish County PUD.

Starbucks employees will see real-time stats about their store's energy use, delivered via an online dashboard developed by Lucid, another partner on the project.

The pilot project team will work with Starbucks baristas to find ways to adjust work routines that will reduce the amount of energy required to run their stores without jeopardizing customer service.

"We have committed to reducing energy and water use in company-owned stores by 25 percent by 2015," said Jim Hanna, director, environmental stewardship at Starbucks, in a press release. "This pilot project demonstrates our ongoing desire to meet our customers’ expectations of providing a premium experience while at the same time constantly evaluating our environmental performance."

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