Amaize restaurant in Doral, Florida, is the flagship store in a planned chain of fast-casual eateries serving Latin-inspired gourmet food. Located just outside Miami, the 2,760-square-foot store serves an average of 3,300 arepas — the restaurant's signature dish — on a daily basis.

As the Amaize team developed its franchise model, CEO Karen Armando Cohen made it her mission to focus on environmentally friendly restaurant design. As a baseline goal, Amaize set out to cut at least 20 percent of the Doral store's total energy use, and to use the building as a model for future locations.

"We hope our sustainability efforts help raise the bar for the restaurant industry and set a positive example for the local community," said Cohen.

To accomplish this goal, Amaize first retrofitted the kitchen with energy-saving electric burners. Next, the restaurant looked to reduce its energy use by installing LED lights, which are known to consume 85 percent less energy than incandescent or compact florescent bulbs with a longer lifespan. Working with Miami-based distributor, Conexsol, and sustainable energy solution provider, ReneSola, Amaize installed 111 LEDs across the kitchen, dining and retail spaces with different bulbs for brightness in the kitchen and warm lighting for the dining room. The installation process took two days without disruption to service hours. Since April, Amaize has achieved an 80 percent reduction in lighting-related energy consumption, and will be able to see a full return on investment in just eight months.