"Now I can put money toward growing my business." – Rafael, owner

CravePizza cuts energy bills in half

Three years ago, Rafael started CravePizza because he was unhappy with the quality of pizza offered by most chains. Today, CravePizza has thin, pan and stuffed pizzas as well as a full menu and full bar.

Rafael called energySMART after months of complaints from employees and patrons about the temperature of the restaurant. An Energy Advisor assessed the restaurant and added aerators to the bathroom sinks, installed an energy-saving spray valve for the kitchen sink and hot water heater pipe wrap and recommended a programmable thermostat installation.

“Those are things that are on all the time. They were adding up,” said Rafael.

Rafael also installed a new furnace for his restaurant.

“The blower was stuck and was running 100 percent of the time. It was picking up air from the outside and bringing in cold air when it wasn’t blowing warm air from the furnace,” Rafael said.

With the blower running 100 percent of the time, his highest natural gas bill was about $1,000. The building’s square footage is approximately 1,600 square feet. After installing a new furnace, his next natural gas bill was $400.

“No one was paying attention to the amount of natural gas we were using,” said Rafael, describing his monthly energy bills before his energy efficiency upgrades.

After completing energy efficiency upgrades from energySMART, Rafael feels more in control of his energy costs. Rafael even shares the Nicor Gas bill with his employees every month.

“My employees know that we’re trying to save. Making it known that we can save energy with small changes, and therefore save money, gets everyone motivated and moving in the right direction.”

Rafael received a rebate for the programmable thermostat he installed. It helps him control the temperature of the building when it’s closed—especially if he isn’t at the restaurant and closing time.

“Sometimes our employees would forget to turn down the temperatures when they close. The programmable thermostat allows me to control it from my smartphone; which is great, because then I don’t need to come in just to turn the temperature down.”

CravePizza has purchased a vacant property next door which will increase the building’s square footage to 3,000.

“Factoring in rebates for a new energy efficiency fryer helps make a decision to expand a lot easier. Now I can put money toward growing my restaurant business.”