Five Questions for: Michael Paulus

Michael Paulus, Five Questions, BGSU, LEED certificationPreparing for construction of a new dining hall is full of challenges. Add the goal of LEED certification onto a new construction and the project can seem daunting. Michael Paulus, director of dining for Chartwells at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, spoke to FSD about how his team is preparing to implement sustainable design, with hopes of LEED certification, at the university’s new McDonald’s Dining Center.

How did the idea of going for LEED certification first come about?

The Bowling Green State University campus is going through a green transformation. The McDonald Dining Center is scheduled to open August 2011. We wanted to try for LEED certification because it was right for the environment, good for the students and desired by the university. Bowling Green State University was already a big supporter of eco-friendly expansion and did not need convincing about sustainable campus development. It was natural for Chartwells to provide insight for the new freestanding dining center considering Chartwells' design and building team members are experienced in LEED certification and sustainable facility development. We want our dining facilities to reflect our commitment to the students, client, community and environment.

What are some of the plans in place for this building to meet the LEED certification with regards to the foodservice aspect of the building?

Our plan includes ways in which we could capitalize on opportunities to create cost savings by improving energy efficiency, performance levels and the impact our foodservice operations have on the environment and healthy living. We plan to accomplish this by: using energy-efficient cooking equipment, exhaust hoods and HVAC; conserving water by using low-flow fixtures that reduce water usage; incorporating strategically placed windows for natural light or day lighting to conserve energy; using recycled and sustainable content and materials in dining center construction; using campus electric vehicles powered by a hybrid solar system and wind energy; and growing a rooftop garden to provide fresh produce for students and staff that will be prepared in the dining center.

We will also be implementing green programs and practices under our Project Green Thumb sustainability platform categories, which are Build it Green, Run it Green, Source it Green and Return it Green. Build it Green refers to sustainable design, construction or renovations. Run it Green includes Chartwells programs that ensure all daily operations are managed according to our green standards to help reduce all forms of waste and increase efficiency. Our programs include Project Clean Plate, trayless dining and Trim Trax food waste reduction programs, recycling and composting initiatives as well as providing biodegradable disposable and reusable packaging and containers. Source it Green and ethical eating identifies our relationship with our food sources. By sourcing food and products locally or regionally from family farms and minority vendors and women-owned businesses, we are able to provide the freshest, highest quality foods and products that support the local community. We also provide many food choices that are produced by means of higher ethical standards as a responsible brand including cage-free eggs, seafood from sustainable sources, poultry, pork and milk free of unnecessary antibiotics and growth hormones and Fair Trade-certified coffee and tea.

What are some of the other features you hope to include in the building?

The plan will incorporate aesthetically pleasing features that promote functionality and fun in the dining center under our proprietary Pulse on Dining program. Students will notice the added value, comfort and quality of indoor and outdoor spaces created for the purpose of interaction and a fun dining experience. There will be an exhibition-style open production kitchen with buffet-like appearance and a direct link to the kitchen will take center stage. Students will be able to make themselves feel at home by visiting myPantry, which is a home-style kitchen set-up. The self-assisted kitchen allows students to help themselves to a full refrigerator, stocked cabinets and counter space complete with countertop appliances, counter seating and televisions. There will also be outdoor common areas for students include patios with tables, group and solo seating, swings and a fire pit.

What is the planning for LEED certification like for a director?

Planning, applying and following through with LEED certification is a very defined process where specific standards and criteria must be met bar none. Planning involves working with and coordinating efforts from a number of participants from many different fields. The process requires understanding how to meet the expectations of the client and understanding operational objectives. In the end operators should focus on the food and the guests they will serve within the function of the space while maintaining total commitment to sustainability. Once you've gone green you should not become complacent. We have a great experienced team concentrating on collaborative efforts and a common goal. Constant communication is paramount. Time and staying within budget will be difficult. We hope to attain either Gold or Platinum level certification for an independent or freestanding dining hall structure for the McDonald Dining Center. Everyone on our team agreed upon a plan of action and setting the bar. With assistance from The Novus Group, we hope to achieve the highest certification possible.

What advice would you give to other operators who might be gearing up to try for LEED certification?

Start early, do your homework, define and plan your resources, build a qualified team and task force, agree on realistic goals, obtain input from students and the community and be committed. Be aware of standards and requirements including any local, state or national legalities and have complete documentation. Then have fun.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
wheaton emerson int salad bar

Restaurant design is all about catching a customer’s eye —and it’s sometimes particularly beneficial to be far-sighted. As Airbnb has proven with its San Francisco headquarters, where cafe spaces are inspired by cities like Cairo and Mumbai, elaborate design schemes that evoke far-flung geographic regions can be done to great effect. But operators are finding simpler ways to achieve that feel.

That’s been the experience of Kutztown University Dining Services in Pennsylvania. Kent Dahlquist, director of housing and dining services, says that when the university decided several years...

Managing Your Business
overtime payroll timesheet

Just eight days before Dec. 1, when operators would have to comply with the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime rules, a federal judge in Texas slapped an injunction on the regulation. The move indefinitely halted the rules that would have doubled the overtime threshold to $47,476, affecting nearly 4.2 million workers, according to the DOL. For some operators, the move was too little, too late. Now, they have to answer to employees who had been briefed on promised wage increases.

Kansas Memorial Union at the University of Kansas in Lawrence made changes ahead of the deadline...

Ideas and Innovation
ucmc model

With a budget and timeline in place, and the support of the university behind them, the foodservice team at the University of Chicago Medical Center was ready to get rolling with the renovation of one of its patient services kitchens. The facility, which services the hospital’s Center for Care and Discovery and Comer Children’s Hospital, was tripling in size to serve two additional patient floors, to the tune of $9 million. But that didn’t mean immediately jumping in with steel and screws.

“First, we cut out scaled pieces of paper and moved things around,” says Elizabeth Lockwood,...

Ideas and Innovation
granola bars

Where possible, we make grab-and-go items reimbursable. For example, if we’re serving a fruit and milk smoothie, we let students take a granola bar or other grain component to make it count as a meal.

FSD Resources