Of all the environmental issues, the lack of clean, cheap energy is one of the most prevalent in the world. We all use energy every day, and much more than we think. Nearly everything that an average student does day-to-day requires energy, and I can assure you that much of that energy is harmful to the environment. Much of the world’s energy is derived from fossil fuels, which are extremely harmful to the environment because they release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The heat trapped from these gases ultimately contribute to global warming. With global warming comes polarized weather around the world, and that is why we are seeing one of the coldest winters and warmest summers globally.
In the Bay Area, you can find coffee shops and restaurants with lines outside the door every day of the week. There’s no doubt that the notion of getting food and sitting down for a break or to work has become extremely popularized. However, many coffee shops and restaurants do not use renewable energy, import their food from far destinations, and prepare their food in an unsustainable way. I am here to offer a list of coffee shops and restaurants that practice sustainable methods of food production and energy use in their shops around the Bay Area. I hope to raise awareness of places that value sustainability and also show living examples of how restaurants are able to combine health, deliciousness, and sustainability – the best of all worlds! Here are five of the top energy-efficient coffee shops and restaurants in the Bay Area, not necessarily in order.
Locations: Almost every city in Bay Area
About: Peet’s roasts all coffee in the nation’s first LEED Gold-certified roasting facility, which is the “nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.” In addition to upholding sustainable practices in their stores, Peet’s recently donated $250,000 to fund UC Davis’s coffee program which will be complete with a pilot roastery. By supporting education of sustainable coffee production, Peet’s is helping raise awareness and giving opportunity for education! Also, Peet’s is currently donating 10% of proceeds from their People & Planet coffees to TechnoServe in honor of Earth Day. Promotions like these are awesome and deserve recognition. You should feel good next time you grab a cup of joe from Peet’s.
Locations: San Francisco (8)
About: Apart from being extremely tasty, Mixt gets food delivered from local farmers every day. The food is fresh, healthy, and has a short journey from farm to kitchen, which makes it a sustainable option! They even “use compostable packaging, which is eco-friendly, while using recycled and energy-efficient equipment in the restaurant.” The mission statement and philosophy of Mixt is fitting for the type of sustainable, modern, healthy restaurant people idealize these days. New locations are beginning to pop up more frequently, so it is assured that Mixt will be growing in the near future.
Locations: San Francisco (6), Mill Valley, Burlingame
About: The Plant is considered one of the greenest restaurants in the Bay Area, and some of its green practices include renewable energy, local food, and healthy decor inside. The buildings are all made of environmentally-friendly materials, with certain locations featuring flooring made of coconut shells, biodegradable take-out containers, and recycled tiles. The Plant at Pier 3 in San Francisco even features a living wall! The plant is especially known for its amazing salads and other vegetarian dishes, so if you are in the mood for a healthy meal, make sure to stop by The Plant.
Locations: Mill Valley (2), San Francisco (2), Larkspur
About: Equator is a fantastic option for buying coffee because not only its stores are energy efficient, but it also sources all coffee in Northern California. As CBS SF Bay Area puts it, “The San Rafael-based business has long held a strong commitment to sustainability and more than half of its coffees are certified organic, fair trade and Rainforest Alliance. As part of its social responsibility, Equator’s coffee roasting is performed locally using an energy efficient Loring Smart Roaster and delivery trucks are powered by locally produced biodiesel fuel.” Equator has made many efforts to practice business sustainably, and for that you should try it out next time you are around San Francisco or the Marin area!
About: Tigelleria is a fantastic Italian restaurant in Santa Clara County, which has a wide variety of dishes on its menu. The menu features locally-sourced organic foods, and certain menu items are 100% organic, so there are certainly an array of healthy options. Since the food is locally-sourced, it doesn’t travel a long way from farm to kitchen, so the process conserves energy and harmful gases released into the air. Additionally, organic farming requires sustainable techniques in food production. If you are looking for a good, energy efficient restaurant in the Santa Clara area, make a reservation at Tigelleria!