Office Coffee Gets Sustainability Boost — Q&A With Eric Dell

Jan. 9, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided on standards to offer ENERGY STAR recognition on office coffee equipment. What does that mean and how will it help the industry? Eric Dell, senior vice president of government affairs for NAMA explains.  

Q. Can you summarize the meaning of this ENERGY STAR standard? 

A. The finalizing of the ENERGY STAR standard for batch commercial coffee brewers means that it has been added to the suite of ENERGY STAR commercial food service equipment. Manufacturers of this equipment can begin the process of equipment certification. Once equipment has been certified, ENERGY STAR will then list the product(s) on its website Following the approval of equipment by ENERGY STAR, the industry will likely begin to slowly see requirements for ENERGY STAR compliant batch commercial coffee brewers in contracts for equipment on government owned property at all levels – federal, state and local. 

Q. Is it a standard for all office coffee brewers? 

A. The standard is only for batch commercial coffee brewers. Commercial coffee brewers are available in many different types, configurations and sizes. Depending on the establishment, the usage patterns can vary greatly. In general, commercial coffee brewers are characterized into three main types: single-cup brewers, batch brewers, and urn/satellite brewers. The new ENERGY STAR specification focuses on coffee brewers intended for commercial use and excludes coffee makers used in households. A list of eligible products and their corresponding criteria can be found at 

Q. Why is ENERGY STAR beneficial to the industry? 

A. NAMA is honored to have worked closely with ENERGY STAR to assist them in obtaining data and equipment to test on behalf of the industry. The ENERGY STAR rating is another example of the industry’s pro-active advocacy efforts on sustainability. It places the industry, and particularly operators in a forward-leaning position with today and tomorrow’s consumers and the overall marketplace as it relates to energy conservation and environmental protection for future generations. This standard will also provide substantial energy savings. Batch commercial coffee brewers that meet the Version 1.0 performance requirements offer end users as much as 35 percent in energy savings and about $100 per year when compared to conventional models. If all Type II batch commercial coffee brewers sold in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR certified, the energy cost savings would grow to more than $41 million each year and more than 700 million pounds of annual greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented, equivalent to the emissions from nearly 70,000 vehicles. 

Q. Does EPA plan to expand the ENERGY STAR program to other brewers? 

A. EPA expects to expand the scope of this specification to include other types of commercial coffee brewers (e.g., single-cup brewers and espresso machines) once information about their energy use becomes available. There is no set time frame. It depends on how quickly they can receive data from the machine manufacturers and whether or not energy savings can be shown at adequate levels to meet ENERGY STAR program requirements.