Wendy’s is on a journey to benchmark, measure and reduce our energy footprint. We strive every day to provide the quality food and experience Wendy’s is known for all while minimizing our footprint and identifying new ways to increase our energy efficiency across our operations. In 2020, key milestones included lowering our energy use in our restaurants and enhancing restaurant ventilation.
In 2015, Wendy’s was among the first restaurant brands to sign on to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings® Challenge – and the first restaurant company to include its franchisees in the Challenge. Nineteen franchise owners representing nearly 1,400 restaurants are currently participating in the Challenge. Using 2012 as our baseline year, we committed to reducing energy consumption in Company-operated restaurants by 20% per transaction by 2025. In 2020, Wendy’s achieved a 15% reduction in energy per square foot for our Company operations against our 2012 baseline.
Wendy’s Energy Score
In partnership with Go Sustainable Energy, Wendy’s developed a statistical proprietary model to analyze Wendy’s energy usage at company restaurants and franchisees participating in the Better Buildings Challenge. This tool, known as the Wendy’s Energy Score, was created using a similar methodology that is used by the Environmental Protection Agency to develop their ENERGY STAR® score, which is not currently available for restaurants. The Wendy’s Energy Score provides a score of 0-100, with the higher the score reflecting better energy performance.
The Wendy’s Energy Score is used to benchmark and prioritize energy investments. Not surprising, the Wendy’s smart building design consistently ranks in the top quartile demonstrating better energy performance. These same buildings rank among the most efficient in the Better Buildings Challenge when looking at energy per transaction.
In 2020, Wendy’s was awarded the 2020 Energy Efficiency Innovation award by AEP Ohio®, the state’s largest utility provider. This award was given for our ongoing efforts to reduce energy and support our franchisees in energy reduction efforts. Wendy’s continues to innovate by benchmarking energy use and demonstrates energy reduction in operational improvements and strategic energy investments, such as LED parking lot light upgrades, walk-in cooler upgrades and HVAC replacements.
Saving energy in HVAC
Wendy’s engages key partners in sustainable business practices to help us improve the ways our equipment operates and how we purchase and use energy. One significant energy use in a restaurant is heating, ventilation and air conditioning. In our ongoing effort to find deep energy retrofit solutions, Wendy’s piloted and rolled out energy management systems with GridPoint® and Transformative Wave® at more than 50% of our Company restaurants.
GridPoint’s platform captures real-time, equipment-level energy and facility data to understand how our buildings are operating and to identify inefficiencies. The system then optimizes HVAC run-times and electrical demand while prioritizing customer comfort to make our restaurants more efficient. This means less energy used, lower utility costs, and less CO2 emissions coming from our restaurants. To-date, we have installed GridPoint systems at more than 300 Wendy’s locations, with 110 having been installed in 2020 alone.
Also in 2020, Wendy’s installed Transformative Wave HVAC upgrades and ventilation control solutions at 79 Company-operated restaurants. Transformative Wave reduces the HVAC energy needed while improving the temperature, ventilation control, and overall comfort. The ventilation system at these restaurants is continuously monitored and adjusted to ensure energy savings and active ventilation control. Our initial pilot locations have now been in operation for one year, with energy use down 15% and GHG emissions down by 10% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Each of these systems has had its approach validated using standards set under the International Performance Measurement and Verification Protocol, and the improvement can take place without overhauling a restaurant’s physical HVAC systems.
"Wendy's ongoing commitment to energy efficiency throughout its organization shows tremendous leadership. As a Better Buildings Challenge partner, Wendy's is driving greater energy savings at company and franchise restaurants. This organizational prioritization of greater efficiency saves dollars, creates jobs and drives innovation in the food service sector."
- Maria T. Vargas
Director of the Better Buildings Initiative at the U.S. Department of Energy
"We are excited to be the first Wendy’s franchise organization to achieve, and exceed, the 20% energy reduction goal. We entered the Better Buildings Challenge to help better the community, grow our business and improve operations, which will also lead to new opportunities for our franchise organization and our people."
- Raul Dominguez
President of Wendium of Florida, Inc