Next Step Living® Expands Focus to Commercial Business Sector with New Commercial Kitchen Technology That Helps Restaurants Cut Water Heating Costs

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EcoThermal Filter System Saves Average Full-Service Restaurant up to $6,000 a Year

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“Every once in a while, a new product comes along that is a game changer — that’s cost-effective, user-friendly and impactful,” says Kerry Miller, director of membership services at the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.

Next Step Living, the leading provider of whole-home energy solutions in the Northeast today announced it is entering the commercial energy-efficiency market by launching a new technology that helps restaurants relieve one cost pressure: hot water bills.

The EcoThermal Filter System from Next Step Living captures waste heat from cook lines to preheat water, saving restaurants thousands of dollars a year on their gas bills. The average, full service restaurant uses 2,500 gallons of hot water on a daily basis for food prep, dishwashing and cleaning. At that level, using the EcoThermal Filter System would lead to savings of nearly $6,000 in the first year alone.

“Adding the EcoThermal Filter System to Next Step Living’s existing portfolio of energy-saving products allows us to help restaurants substantially reduce their carbon footprint while saving money,” says Geoff Chapin, founder and CEO of Next Step Living. “As we continue to make our mark on the residential energy efficiency space, we’re excited to expand our mission to the commercial market with the introduction of the EcoThermal Filter System.”

While the restaurant business is picking up due to the improved economy, profit margins continue to be a concern as a result of high operational expenses including food and supply costs and energy bills. With a 70-percent subsidy available to National Grid customers and a zero-interest two-year loan from Next Step Living, commercial kitchens are cash flow positive from month one after their EcoThermal Filter System has been installed.

The EcoThermal Filter System is recommended by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association (MRA) and endorsed by the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). “Every once in a while, a new product comes along that is a game changer — that’s cost-effective, user-friendly and impactful,” says Kerry Miller, director of membership services at the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. “The EcoThermal Filter System integrates seamlessly into existing kitchen systems and immediately starts saving kitchen operators money and energy.”

The installation of an EcoThermal Filter System also helps restaurants earn points toward certification from the GRA, earning 90 percent of points needed in the energy category. "Installing an EcoThermal Filter System is a big step towards helping commercial kitchens save energy, while making use of what’s already in kitchens: the cook line," says Michael Oshman, CEO and founder of the Green Restaurant Association.

Next Step Living, named No. 92 on the 2014 Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies, last year acquired MVP Energy, LLC of Quincy, Mass. With the creators of the EcoThermal Filter System technology joining the Next Step Living team, the company is quickly bringing the product to the mass market. Blissfield Manufacturing in Blissfield, Mich., is producing the systems.

How The EcoThermal Filter System Works
There’s a $10 billion price tag affiliated with energy use in the commercial food service industry, with 80-percent attributed to inefficient cooking. The EcoThermal Filter System improves efficiency by capturing waste heat from the cook line, and using that heat to preheat water for use in daily prep like washing dishes or cooking. The waste heat moves through the grease filters and passes over embedded heat exchangers to preheat the water. This preheated water flows to the water storage tank to be used as needed.

By preheating water to 125 degrees Fahrenheit, the EcoThermal Filter System saves much of the natural gas otherwise required to heat water to a sanitary 140 degrees. The natural gas usage reduction restaurant owners will see – an average of 3,500 therms per year – significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. By installing an EcoThermal Filter System, a restaurant can reduce carbon dioxide by nearly 19 metric tons on average. Put simply: That’s like switching 500 incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient CFLs.

About Next Step Living:
One of the fastest-growing companies in the country, Next Step Living® is the leading provider of whole-home energy solutions in the Northeast. In 2014, Next Step Living continued its triple bottom line focus with an expansion into the commercial sector when it became the exclusive provider of EcoThermal Filter Systems, an innovative energy-saving product for commercial kitchens. Headquartered in Boston’s Innovation District, Next Step Living makes it easy and affordable for people to reduce their environmental impact, while at home or at work. A one-stop service provider of informed advice, funding guidance and expert work, Next Step Living partners with more than 400 municipalities, civic organizations, leading corporations and utility companies to deliver energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions. Please visit EcoThermalFilters.com for more information.

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Jean Sexton
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