America's most eco-friendly restaurant chain opening San Diego's first LEED certified restaurant this May, followed by others throughout California, Nevada and Arizona
January 31, 2008 // Franchising.com // San Diego, Calif. – Pizza Fusion (www.pizzafusion.com), the most environmentally sustainable restaurant in America, will be opening San Diego's first ever LEED certified restaurant in the Hillcrest neighborhood at 3827 5th Avenue this May. The restaurant will be the second location of Pizza Fusion's national franchise expansion to open outside their home state of Florida, following the opening of their Pittsburgh, Pa. restaurant in April. Entrepreneurial duo Mike and Nicole Walker are the franchisees behind Pizza Fusion's new San Diego location. Mike, a military veteran, was attracted to the franchise's VetFran program after returning from completing two combat tours in Iraq with the 1st battalion 5th Marines.
"When I got back from overseas, I wanted to start a business of my own that could provide Nicole and I with the financial stability we were seeking, while at the same time, reflect our socially conscious values that we're very passionate about," Walker, explains. "Pizza Fusion is exactly what I was looking for in a business model. Their industry leading approach to sustainable restaurant service, backed by an outstanding product, made me question how this restaurant wasn't already operating in California. I'm excited and proud to introduce California to Pizza Fusion."
Walker's San Diego store is the first of four locations to open this year in California, including Temecula, Santa Monica and Thousand Oaks. Pizza Fusion, whose motto is 'Saving the Earth, One Pizza at a Time,' practices an eco-friendly approach to their entire existence, including their restaurants' buildout, service and overall operations. Through building only LEED certified restaurants, delivering their food in company owned hybrid vehicles, and offsetting 100% of their power consumption with the purchase of renewable energy certificates (among many other things), Pizza Fusion is setting the standard for sustainable restaurant practices as the most eco-friendly restaurant in America. Currently, the company has over 60 LEED certified restaurants opening in nine states across the U.S., including California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia and Florida.
"We're very excited and proud to branch out to the California market as some might consider it the hub of the United States' green movement," Vaughan Lazar, CEO and co-founder of Pizza Fusion, continues. "I know our sustainable approach to restaurant service will be warmly accepted by the state's environmentally conscious residents. The American restaurant sector has a long way to go in terms of minimizing waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We're looking forward to influencing the industry with our West Coast expansion through raising awareness and fueling environmental consumerism. We're proud to make our move West with Mike and Nicole. We're confident they, along with our other California franchisees, will represent us well and uphold Pizza Fusion's founding values."
In the United States, restaurants are the top electricity consumer among retail businesses, accounting for 33% of the total consumption. Each restaurant produces an average of 50,000 pounds of waste per year. Pizza Fusion's LEED certified restaurants reduce water waste by 40 percent and electricity consumption by 20 percent annually. The chain's LEED certified restaurants feature a number of unique, eco-efficient products, techniques and designs, including eliminating the use of water heaters and air heating units by recycling heat from their ovens to warm their water and the restaurants themselves. Pizza Fusion restaurants' other eco-elements include countertops made from 100% recycled detergent bottles, bamboo flooring, 30% recaptured industrial concrete, ceiling panels made from 74% recycled aluminum cans and 24% post industrial metals, USG Gypsum Board made from pre-used drywall, insulation made from recycled blue jeans, ceiling baffles made from recycled composite board, low voltage and low heat lighting, seat cushions made with soybean oil, furniture made from reclaimed wood and much more – all the way down to the 100 percent post consumer toilet paper in their bathrooms.
Born and raised in Park City, Utah, Mike Walker moved to San Diego in 2003 with his San Diego native wife, Nicole. Prior to Pizza Fusion, Mike served two terms with the United States Marines in Iraq from 1999 to 2007. Nicole has a Bachelor's in Psychology from Cal State San Marcos. Both are outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy snowboarding, surfing, backpacking, rock climbing, and scuba diving.
About LEED Certification
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™, established by the United States Green Building council, is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
About Pizza Fusion
Founded in February of 2006, Pizza Fusion leads a new niche market by combining an eclectic organic menu with a detail-oriented environmental business approach in chic LEED certified fast casual environments. Pizza Fusion serves and organic menu of gourmet pizzas, ciabatta sandwiches, salads, desserts, beers, wines and more in their purest form - untainted by artificial additives, such as sweeteners, pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics and hormones. They also offer health conscious alternatives for people with selective diets and food allergies, including gluten-free, vegan and lactose-free options. For additional information, visit: www.pizzafusion.com.