Coffee House Goes for “Zero” Carbon in Your Cup

An Oakland cafe designed to have a “zero” carbon footprint

Kennejima/Flickr

Noble Cafe in Oakland serves coffee with a conscientious bent.

By Caitlin Esch

Dimitri Thompson says he’s calculated every kilowatt his Noble Cafe will use, from the motion-sensor-controlled, low-energy lighting system to his high-end Italian coffee machine. He’s pinned down the biggest electricity hogs in most cafes, “One: coffee machine, on all the time. Two: fridges, on all the time.”

Thompson has a couple of standard restaurant fridges, but he’ll use special cold packs for display goods that need to be kept cool. He plans to buy his electricity from a wind and solar company and has an on-site composting system.

Thompson doesn’t stop there. He includes other factors like how his employees get to work and where his products come from to estimate his total carbon footprint using a website designed to help businesses make that calculation. When all is said and done, Thompson says he will still need to make monthly payments to offset some of his carbon usage. He has chosen to funnel that cash into supporting Oakland’s parks.