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MOBILE –  As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to cut energy waste in the nation’s restaurants and buildings, today the Energy Department’s Better Buildings Challenge recognized the Wendy’s Company and its franchisee, Wendco Group, for leadership in energy efficiency. This local restaurant achieved a 37 percent total energy reduction or more than 50 percent energy savings per sales transaction, and nearly $8,000 in savings annually.

Through the Better Buildings Challenge, Wendy’s has committed to achieving 20 percent energy savings over 10 years, across 1.5 million square feet of building space at company-owned restaurants. It’s also the first restaurant company to include franchisees in the Better Buildings Challenge. To date, six franchisees have joined, adding an additional 270 restaurants (nearly 700,000 square feet) to the collective Wendy’s footprint.

Wendy’s joined the Better Buildings Challenge in January of this year and was so inspired by the program that the company started its own program called the Wendy’s Energy Challenge. The program is modeled after the Better Buildings Challenge and encourages Wendy’s franchisees across North America to be good stewards of energy usage.

“The leadership demonstrated by this corporation and its franchisee is tremendous,” said Maria T. Vargas, U.S. Department of Energy, Better Buildings Challenge director. “Not only is The Wendy’s Company focused on improving corporate-level energy efficiency, it is doing so in a way that reaches thousands more restaurants. This approach with the Wendco Group is exemplary of a commitment to continuous improvement, a dedication to greater savings, and proof that partnerships extend energy savings.”

Wendco Group operates 43 restaurants in Alabama and Florida and has made a long-term commitment to energy efficiency as a business strategy.  The group actively develops and pursues strategies for lowering energy use across their building portfolio, including ongoing equipment maintenance, strategic energy upgrades and high efficiency equipment installation.

Upgrades to the Wendy’s location in Mobile, Alabama include exterior LED lights, all-LED interior lights, an ultra-high efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, and a new, efficient commercial kitchen hood.

“We’re proud to be among the first restaurant companies to join the Challenge,” said Abigail Pringle, chief development officer for the Wendy’s Company. “We see environmental stewardship in restaurant development as a big responsibility, and it connects to our values. We believe stewardship is a journey, a long-term commitment. It’s not something we are simply ‘checking off the list,’ rather we’re driving purposeful change with bold goals that are brought to life through our culture and our business practices of how we plan, design, engineer, construct and operate our restaurants.”

The Wendy’s Company previously identified HVAC as one of the largest energy-consuming systems in Wendy’s restaurants. Wendco Group chose the Mobile restaurant as a pilot location to use and validate the efficiency of new HVAC equipment, including new rooftop units (RTUs) with variable speed compressors and fans. A second Wendy’s restaurant in Mobile served as a control test subject, because it was also demolished and rebuilt in 2015, but used the older HVAC design. The ultra-high efficiency HVAC system installed at the new Mobile location led to a 14 percent decrease in energy consumption compared to the control restaurant.

Through the Better Buildings Challenge, the Energy Department aims to achieve the goal of doubling American energy productivity by 2030 while motivating corporate and public-sector leaders across the country to save energy through commitments and investments. More than 310 organizations are partnering with the Energy Department to achieve 20 percent portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency over the next decade. Across the country, partners have shared energy data for more than 34,000 properties and are reporting energy savings of 20 percent or more at 5,500 properties, and 10 percent or more at 12,600 properties.

Check out Wendy’s solutions and over 1,200 innovative and cost-effective solutions shared by other partners in the Better Buildings Solution Center.