Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Rehoboth fueled by sun

Dunkin’ Donuts shop in Rehoboth fueled by sunTaking your coffee green may just turn out to be the wave of the future.

With environmental concerns on everyone’s mind these days, one of the most frequented and visual coffee shop franchises in the area has become a leader in the “going green” revolution.

Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees and brothers-in-law Richard Demers and Roger Deslauriers, in business together since 1968, have taken the reigns of the eco-friendly revolution and made it their business not only to make the doughnuts, but make them while easing the burden on the energy-strained planet.

Owners of Dunkin’ Donuts shops in Attleboro, Rehoboth and Taunton, as well as stores in Florida, Demers and Deslauriers have outfitted their stores with solar panels, tankless hot water systems, automatic faucets and light switches and installed LED lights for their parking lots.

On Friday, Deslauriers not only unveiled his shop’s new status of meeting green demands at his South Main Street store, but also celebrated his family’s 50 years in the business.

His father started as a franchise owner in 1959.

Art Krebs, CEO of Construction Art, the company responsible for getting the Dunkin Donuts shops “online” in the going green department, said that the solar panels provide about 8.9 kilowatts, or about 10 percent of the store’s actual consumption. “The good thing is that not only are [Demers and Deslauriers] producing their own electricity but at the end of the day because of the lifetime of that system, they will actually be equating to planting about 5,000 trees. They are also reducing their carbon footprint by a huge amount.”

Krebs said the reason Demers and Deslauriers are doing it is to reduce costs “so the community will get some of the savings back from that. You can compare their prices with other stores and see they keep their prices low because of innovation to keep costs down.”

For anyone who has passed by, or stopped in a Dunkin Donuts knows that it is one business which seems to constantly thrive, even in the midst of the current struggling economy. Drive-thru lines are always considerable, and inside, the businesses are always catering to customers. So with all this good fortune, why did Demers and Deslauriers see it necessary to invest in the greening of the planet?

“We’ve always prided ourselves in being innovative,” said Deslauriers. “We are part of our community. Right now, our environment is at the forefront of everything.” He used a train station metaphor to describe some of the reasoning behind his involvement in the green effort: “When the train leaves the station you can either be on the train or be at the station waving good bye to the train.

“My brother-in-law, Richard, has always been a big proponent of the environment. He goes all the way back to Jimmy Carter. I mean he has the solar panels, hot water heaters. I’m basically a nuts and bolts guy. I majored in accounting and finance; Richard is a musician and a songwriter. I see the light going into the prism; Richard sees the bands of color.” Deslauriers said Demers charges him with tasks and he gets them done. Which is what lead him to contact Krebs.

Krebs has been involved with the “greening” of companies for some time, noting that the government has instituted guidelines for companies who aim to become “certifiably green” using a system of points to attain certification. That title is a difficult one to earn for existing businesses, said Krebs, because in order to become certified, the business needs to be built from the ground up using “green” methods such as environmentally friendly construction materials.

“It’s difficult to retrofit a current building [to meet those standards],” said Deslauriers.

Krebs added that “this store is as green as you can get without certification.”

And as time passes, Krebs and his company will keep close tabs on the energy usage at these Dunkin Donuts shops via electronic meter. A portion of those readings are broadcast on a flat screen monitor on the wall above a counter where customers pick up extra napkins or straws and condiments.

“There’s always room for improvement,” said Krebs. “So a part of our follow-up is providing guidance and consulting as to how a business can maintain or improve and go forward.”

While the stores in Attleboro have gone according to plan in their transition, with Attleboro’s

South Main Street store going online in February, the Rehoboth store struggled and only recently has powered up using solar panels due to town regulations. But Deslauriers said the business moved forward, despite having to jump through a few hoops.

“Some people have the vision and understand it, and go for it,” Krebs said. “Other people are just reluctant and never understand it.” And the return, Krebs said, is well worth it. “It’s certainly better than trying to invest in the market or real estate.”

Krebs adds that the simple installation of automatic faucets reduces energy consumption by as much as 70 percent. Good for the planet, and for the business. And the hand dryers don’t use heat to dry as with other units since the latest technology uses air which seemingly peels away the moisture from the skin. And unlike conventional hand dryers, the new machine filters the air it uses. They too operate automatically and for a shorter period than the old dryers. It means both energy savings and a more sanitary environment.

Deslauriers said he believes the greening of businesses is the wave of the future, and all his shops, the current stores and any he may open, will strive to meet these demands. For Demers and Deslauriers, making the shops eco-friendly isn’t about government mandates, but about doing what’s best for the business, all the while accommodating the discerning customer, and serving up a fresh cup of green.

For consumers worried that businesses aren’t meeting the needs of the planet, Demers and Deslauriers have provided them with some comfort. They can feel at ease when stopping in at one those shops.

Construction Art, a subsidiary of Krebs Ventures LLC, based out of Alton, Tenn., can be reached at 888 930 2255.

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the state’s development agency for renewable energy, provides programs for individuals, non-profits and businesses. Visit them at www.masstech.org.

Wicked Local from the Taunton Daily Gazette

Also Attleboro Sun Chronicle

Construction Art Helps Dunkin Franchisee Going Green for Profits and For the Planet

SouthMainstRoger Deslauriers, a Dunkin’ franchise owner and operator whose family has been in the business for 50 years, is bringing green technology to a number of his stores. Deslauriers and his family have always strived to be at the forefront of business decisions that improve their franchises for their own benefit and for the benefit of their employees and customers. In keeping with this family business tradition, Deslauriers has implemented the installation of solar-electrical generation panels and other technological innovations that promise to lower his store utility bills considerably.

Art Krebs is CEO of Construction Art, which specializes in Green Building Technologies. Years ago, Krebs built one of the Deslauriers stores in Florida. When he started Construction Art, he contacted Deslauriers and offered to meet with him to tell him about new technologies and related incentive programs. Deslauriers could hardly believe the incentives available, so he did some additional investigation on his own. He found that not only could he save money on electric utility expenses, but also he could recover much of his investment. Through a combination of government rebates, tax credits and other incentives (depending on which state a company is located in), businesses can potentially recoup up to about 70% of their initial investments.

“Were it not for the tax incentives and rebates, I’m not sure I’d be pursuing this,” Deslauriers shared candidly. “When you consider the programs supporting green technology in Massachusetts and on the federal level, you realize you can do something good for the planet and for yourself - for your bottom line - and, consequently, for your customers. It’s a win-win!”

SouthMainst_panelesThe installation of solar panels at Deslauriers’ two franchise locations in Attleboro, Massachusetts - one on South Main Street and one on County Street - is complete and the system went online on January 15. At his location on Winthrop Street in Rehoboth, Massachusetts, the electrical work has been completed and the solar panel installation is in its final phases with expected completion in the next few weeks.

In addition to solar-electrical generation and solar water heating, Deslauriers is implementing other conservation measures at these locations including automatic faucets, which can save up to 70% of water that otherwise literally goes down the drain; motion sensor lights, which studies have shown can save at least 35% of energy used for lighting; and energy efficient Dyson hand dryers, which use about 60% less electricity than standard electric hand dryers.

With the green technology he is employing, Deslauriers expects to save about 30% on electric costs at each of the Attleboro locations and, at the Rehoboth location, all of the electricity will be largely solar-generated.

Beyond the utility expense savings, Deslauriers should be able to recover his initial investments quickly. Massachusetts offers a rebate program that provides a direct cash rebate of about 30% of all planning and installation costs within 90 days of qualifying systems going online. Further, a federal accelerated depreciation schedule allows businesses to recover money spent on green technology equipment in less time than normal.

“You do your best to control payroll and food costs, but the reality is that there are so few costs you can truly control,” says Deslauriers. “When an opportunity like this comes around, you have to take advantage of it.”

Krebs says that every business owner, including Dunkin’ franchisees, has the potential to improve energy efficiency, thereby reducing: energy used, energy wasted and energy costs. His company specializes in implementing Green solutions resulting in high impact operational efficiency and increased profitability. Construction Art can provide: energy audits to identify usage, waste and feasible conservation measures; assistance with paperwork for permits, rebates and the like; media pieces for marketing efforts; procedures and training for staff and (depending on the technology implemented) a Green Vue™ monitor which lets customers see the benefits of the technologies in use.

“We want to help business owners identify Green solutions, maximize profits and minimize operational costs through top quality Green implementations,” says Krebs. “We encourage everyone to join the Green movement in order to become more profitable and to help our environment.”

Investing in technology that increases energy efficiency can also have a real impact on customers. In his case, Deslauriers says that the savings he anticipates mean he won’t have to raise prices at the rate he would have without the Green investments and implementations he made. Such efforts should serve to bolster customer loyalty, attract new customers and boost the bottom line.

Highly Efficient House Uses 80% Less Power and Water
margarido-leed-platinum-houseI have to mention this highly optimal house recently completed in California. Jetson Green has all the details, so I won’t repeat them here. Basically, the Margarido House is on its way to being the first home the nation that’s both LEED-H certified and GreenPoint rated. I’m impressed by how many green elements are incorporated in this house, while still maintaining a highly appealing design.
The Best Rechargeable Batteries and Chargers Of 2008
eneloop_rechargeable_batteriesToday, the best rechargeable batteries are the new hybrid Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) cells. These hybrid batteries have a lot going for them: they come fully charged (like alkalines), and they can hold their charge over may months (unlike regular Ni-MH rechargeables). Because they can hold their charge for so long, they are suitable for low-drain devices like remote controls and flashlights. But they are also ideal for use in high-drain electronic devices like digital cameras. So, basically, these new hybrid Ni-MH cells offer the convenience and shelf-life of alkalines, and the high-drain performance of older Ni-MH batteries. You can find the new hybrid Ni-MHs being sold with names like Hybrio, Eneloop and Rayovac Hybrid.