• Credit: Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons, by Cherrysweetdeal

Starbucks stores nationwide often compete to see which bricks-and-mortar can sell the most seasonal drinks. (Pumpkin Spice lattes, anyone?). Starting today, 10 of those stores in the Pacific Northwest will also vie to see which can save the most energy.

In line with the company's efforts to design stores to match local building styles—N.B. Kengo Kuma's Starbucks in Japan—Starbucks is also trying to cut energy and water use in company-owned stores by 25 percent by 2015. To that end, Starbucks partnered with Lucid to monitor energy consumption via Lucid's building-dashboard software. Real-time energy-use information is displayed on small tablet touchscreens mounted in stores. “It helps us understand what role behavior plays in energy responsibility, in order to create a lasting change," says Starbucks spokesperson Maggie Jantzen.

Metrics measured will include reduction of electricity usage compared to historical usage, as well as reduction of natural gas and water use. The dashboard will display these metrics in native units, such as kilowatts and gallons, as well as unit equivalents to make the data more accessible: dollars saved, dollars spent, carbon dioxide emitted, and more. Starbucks partners can use the information to see whether their chosen energy-conservation efforts are working, as each store will have the freedom to identify their own conservation strategies. 

The pilot project was funded by a grant from the Northwest's Bonneville Power Administration, and developed in conjunction with Portland Energy Conservation in Oregon, and Snohomish County Public Utility District in Washington—the county in which the 10 competing stores are located.

"When energy was a bill that someone in accounting paid, there was little reason for it to be managed against," says Lucid's director of marketing and engagement, Andrew deCoriolis. "As companies look to save money and improve their environmental impact, they are seeking this information." Lucid has aided Arup and Google with similar competitions.

Though the Starbucks competition will only last 30 days, the pilot project will run for one year.