Energy Coaches deliver a bright energy future for Safari Restaurant on Lake Street

A co-owner of Safari Restaurant, Sade Hashi, was confident in his decision to take advantage of the energy efficiency assistance provided by the Small Business Energy Coaching Partnership, a jointly run program between the Lake Street Council and the Chamber of Commerce Energy Smart Program. A representative, or “Energy Coach” from the Lake Street Council and Energy Efficiency Specialists from the Energy Smart Program have teamed up to help make energy efficiency accessible to area businesses.

Safari Restaurant is known for its exceptional Somali cuisine and events center. After learning that the program could help lower his monthly electric bill and improve the atmosphere of Safari, Hashi was excited to take advantage of the opportunity.

Hashi says, “This is a program that brings beneficial resources to entrepreneurs.” Prior to learning about the program, he was looking to improve the quality of his lighting, but didn’t know about all the resources available to him. “Updating [to more energy efficient systems] always seemed untouchable because of the high costs. This program made it workable,” says Hashi.

First, the Energy Coach coordinated a meeting with an Energy Efficiency Specialist. The Specialist toured the entire business searching for energy saving opportunities. Upgrading the lighting in the restaurant, kitchen, event center, and exterior of the building to efficient LED bulbs was identified as the most significant energy and cost saving action.

Next, the Partnership guided Hashi through the process of seeking bids for a lighting contractor. The selected contractor, Voss Lighting, estimated the total project to cost $8,403. After rebates and grants were identified and applied, Hashi only had to pay $2,508, or approximately 30% of the original cost.

Hashi was eager to switch out his old lighting to LEDs because of the efficiency of the new bulbs. The new lighting lasts longer and uses significantly less energy than the old lighting. Most importantly, it will lower the business’s operating costs. Not only was Hashi concerned about the look of his event center and restaurant space, he was concerned about the high cost of his utility bills. “This [high operating cost] is a big concern for small businesses.” As a result of the new LEDs saving 32,932 kWh and $2,928 annually, the project will pay for itself in less than one year.

Upon completion of the project, Hashi says, “the banquet center is lit up really well, the restaurant looks better, and it is significantly brighter at night time around the exterior of the building.” Although Hashi has experienced some malfunctions with lights installed in the kitchen, he is satisfied with the quality of the product installed.

Hashi is appreciative of the assistance provided by the Partnership and says, “They did a wonderful job facilitating the process.” Because Hashi is familiar with the services of the Lake Street Council he trusted this program would be beneficial and reliable, and would help him pursue the project at a fair cost. “The Council has the best interest of the business in mind.”

To encourage other businesses to participate in the program, Hashi says, “There are better, more efficient products on the market which will save you money while improving the overall look of your business.”

Project Snapshot:

  • Annual Savings: $2,928.65
  • Project Costs: $8,403.40
  • Utility Rebate: $2,897.25
  • MCC Grant: $2,508.05
  • LSC Grant: $500.00
  • Total Funding Available: $5,905.30
  • Final Cost: $2,498.10
  • Payback: 0.85 years
  • Demand Reduction: 7.946 kW
  • Annual Energy Savings: 32,932 kWh
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