Here’s to South St. Burger Co.

South St. Burger Co.’s Don Mills location will receive the 2011 Special Recognition Award for Innovation in Energy by the A.R.E. Sustainability Awards. The award will be presented at the A.R.E. Design Awards ceremony at Globalshop 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on March 28.

The South St. Burger Co. Shops at Don Mills location was designed by Jump Branding & Design Inc. The principle sustainable goals for the creation of the Don Mills location included reducing energy consumption, reducing waste water, reducing CO2 emissions, and using green practices in material selections.

“It is a great honour to be recognized by the Association for Retail Environments,” says Jay Gould, founder of South St. Burger Co. “Receiving the Innovation in Energy Design Award highlights South St. Burger Co.’s motto to ‘Be the Right Choice’ for our consumers when they are looking for a model dining experience. This motto translates to our goal of being responsible to our community and the environment we operate in.”

South St. Burger Co. has pioneered the notion of premium fast food using real, fresh ingredients. Its beef is purchased from local farms that practice conscientious and natural farming, raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics, and is turned into fresh, 100-percent-beef patties. South St. Burger Co.’s commitment to operating conscientiously is not exclusive to its ingredient selection. Restaurants have reduced their heating requirements by more than 300 cubic meters of gas per month through grill hoods with high-technology heat exchange ventilation systems. The restaurants also use air cooled as opposed to water cooled ice machines,  high efficiency fryers, LED bulbs for 80 percent of their lighting requirements, and two locations have solar-powered water heater and solar photovoltaic panels, with plans to add more.

Five years down the road, Gould says he expects to be operating some 50 South St. Burger Co. locations, each of them a notch greener than the previous one. Other green initiatives include purchasing clean, renewable electricity, installing sensor light switches and low-flow toilets in washrooms and using reclaimed wood, non-toxic cleaning products and post-consumable recycled paper products where applicable.

“It’s been an evolutionary process and Jump has been there every step of the way,” continues Gould. “So far what we’ve done, apart from being responsible citizens, has not been as painful as it might seem. Our energy investments are paying for themselves.”