Design: Sound Cafe, by Leslie Rios

This low carbon design is for a pastry and coffee shop. This business model prefers either one of the two primary products to be produced in house, in relatively high volume. With regard to coffee, this would entail roasting the beans in house and a robust retail sale of the roasted beans. With regard to food, it would entail baking the product on-site, again, with relatively robust retail sale of bulk orders. The convection oven included in this model is extremely versatile, compact and energy efficient.

The wind and photovoltaic installations on the roof are positive contributions. There is room, however, for two other features that would add considerably to this design, food growth installations and solar cooking. Rooftop food growth installations would give them the opportunity to grow berries and other temperate weather foods that require little maintenance. Advantageous ecological impact would come both from the locality of the food production, but also the lowered heat gain of having a green/food roof.

In addition, there is a great deal of space left on the roof to integrate solar cooking in the warmest two months of the year. With such a focused, yet flexible product, menus for low temperature, slow roasted pastries could be adapted for solar cooking. This could lower the electricity use considerably.

Both of these features, in addition to lowering the carbon footprint of this business model, would contribute to the cafe's stated mission of encouraging the community to become more environmentally responsible.

For the cafe site to be economically viable with it's number of seats and relatively low average check, per cover, they would have to do huge volume of product. With different equipment and an expanded menu, it has possibilities, but in it’s current form it would be difficult to turn a profit. In Seattle, this would require a considerably larger capacity to make espresso drinks and it is doubtful that the espresso machine included in the design would be able to handle sufficient volume.

With regard to the energy generating and saving technologies that are included in the design, passive solar water heating is the most positive feature. The wind band installation is also a strong addition, although the capacity to generate the stated amount of electricity cannot be stated with certainty.