AIR Green Restaurants

Project Profile


Solar Hot Water

“Asheville is all about embracing our community’s connectedness between farm, table, body and spirit. It’s also about celebrating our independent streak,” proclaims the Asheville Independent Restaurant Association. Thanks to the Green Restaurant Initiative and the Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute, energy has been brought into this loop of local connectedness, as seven Asheville restaurants have gone solar, getting free, clean energy right from their rooftops.

This incredible initiative is too big to be the fruit of just one’s labor, but is the result of synergistic collaborations that were inspired by the vision of a team, AIR’s Green Team, led by Kevin Westmoreland from the Corner Kitchen, Randy Talley from the Green Sage, and Rosetta Star from Rosetta’s Kitchen, and Peter Pollay from Posanas, all of whom have long been leaders on the sustainability front in their operations. A grant from the NC Green Business Fund, and hours of project administration by Tim Ballard of BRSI, helped make it possible.

The overarching goal of this project is to establish Asheville as the greenest dining destination in the country, with seventeen restaurants aiming to achieve Green Certified Restaurant® status through the national Green Restaurant Association by Summer 2012, according to Katie Cavert, BRSI’s Communications Coordinator. This effort will not only benefit local restaurants, but will also have a positive impact on economic development and tourism, as well as job creation in our community. The funding will enhance the restaurants’ efforts to promote energy conservation, improve energy efficiency, and increase the use of renewable energy. Specific measures implemented on participating restaurants include a training course for energy conservation practices, HVAC and refrigeration improvements, and lighting upgrades. . These improvements are expected to reduce the energy consumption of the restaurants by 12%, saving a great amount in operating costs and 3.4 billion BTUs, but the end results could surpass all expectations.

View the News Article here: Earth Day: Asheville Leads America’s Greenest Dining Destinations

Sundance was pleased to have been awarded the contract for the Solar Installations through a competitive bid process. According to Tim Ballard “Sundance proposed top quality system materials and demonstrated a keen attention to detail to ensure each system will meet the needs of the individual restaurants.” Indeed, Evan Becka and Drew Cates spent countless hours designing each system after examining each restaurant’s site, water usage patterns and temperature requirements. Another attractive element of our proposal was that the solar collectors specified for the project are manufactured in Morrisville, NC by SolarHot. Using regionally-made products was valued by the team for its stimulus to our state’s green economy, however, the Solstice collectors were also chosen for their top quality performance and high efficiency ratings. (The collectors used at the Green Sage south are an exception, where Kioto tray- style collectors were used to blend with the building’s slate roof, much like skylights.)

Ultimately, each system is as unique as are the restaurants they serve, varying from four collector systems at HomeGrown and Luella’s to 10 collectors at Neo Cantina, and each had its own challenges to overcome. A significant precedent was set in Biltmore Village when the Historic Resources Commission approved the installation as the tilt angle of the collectors was declined to 25 degrees to reduce their visibility. In contrast, Luella’s collectors are greatly visible as they are mounted away from the building to orient south. The most creative engineering solution was the construction of a racking system on reinforcing steel I-beams that are supported by the building’s parapet walls, a modification made in response to structural concerns of the historic Adler Building in downtown. The French Broad Chocolate Lounge and Posana Café, whose restaurants back up to each other, share this impressive racking with a total of 11 collectors in the two arrays.

It is very exciting to be part of this grant and the movement of AIR restaurants to become greener and have less of an impact on our environment. Asheville has had a long standing outlook on pro-sustainability and AIR restaurants want to do our part to support that effort.”

Peter Pollay
Owner of Posana Café and AIR Board Treasurer

“We strive to be conscientious of our extended and immediate environments. It is our priority as a business, and as individuals to act in accordance with a long term plan towards worldwide sustainability, participating fully in the green revolution in Cool Green Asheville. We do it because it is the right thing to do.”

Sherrye Coggiola
Neo Cantina

“It was a real pleasure to be a part of these projects. It’s exciting to help contribute to the Asheville skyline! I’m more proud than ever to call Asheville my home.”

Dan Hettinger & Sundance
Project Manager

Project Client

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