Roger 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!”
The 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.