Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Virginia Green
Restaurants

Virginia Green

The Empress
Richmond, VA


Virginia Green is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s campaign to promote environmentally-friendly practices in all aspects of Virginia’s tourism industry. Virginia Green has established "core activities" specific to each sector of tourism, and these practices are considered the required minimum for participation in the program. However, Virginia Green encourages its participants to reduce their environmental impacts in all aspects of their operations, and this profile provides a full list of all their “green” activities. These are the activities that guests / customers can expect to find when they visit this facility.

The Empress

We are a full-service restaurant serving small-batch and made-from-scratch recipes, with local, organic, and seasonal ingredients. Euro-American Cuisine. Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch, and Refined Dinner.

We make such an effort to minimize the negative impact that we have on our environment, we simply wanted to show other business how easy it is and encourage them to become more responsible.

In addition to using found and used materials during the reconstruction of our building, we strictly enforce recycling and composting in all areas of our business. Our compost is used to nourish home grown herbs as well as an off-site garden for small vegetables and greens. We go the extra mile, and dollar, to use only compostable and previously recycled to-go ware, napkins, cups, etc. We have minimized landfill trash to between 1 and 3 Super Cans per week for our restaurant and catering company combined.

Virginia Green Activities

This facility pledges that they:
Minimize the use of disposable food service items
- Use disposable containers that are made from bio-based materials 
- Use disposable containers that are compostable and direct this material to available composting operations in your area 

Recycle Grease
- Do not have grease to be recycled 

Recycle and Reduce Waste
- Glass (required for Virginia Green) 
- Aluminum Cans 
- Plastic 
- Toner Cartridges 
- Newspaper 
- Office Paper 
- Cardboard 
- Batteries 
- Electronics equipment - computers, etc. 
- Cork 
- Track overall waste bills 
- Have numeric goal to reduce overall materials that go to the landfill 
- Compost food waste and other compostables 
- Have an effective food inventory control to minimize waste 
- Purchase locally grown produce and other foods 
- Purchase organic and / or 'sustainably-grown' foods 
- Use reusable dishware and glassware & minimize use of disposables 
- Use non-bleached napkins and coffee filters 
- Provide condiments, cream and sugar, etc. in bulk 
- Use water pitchers and filtered water to minimize the use of single-use bottles 
- Print menus on recycled content paper with soy-based inks 
- Use Virginia Green logo to indicate organic, local, or sustainable menu choices 
- Use bulk soap dispensers in public restrooms 
- Purchase recycled content paper towels and toilet paper 
- Encourage suppliers to minimize packaging and other waste materials 
- Purchase from vendors and service providers with a commitment to the environment 
- Make 2 sided copies / printed materials 
- Use electronic correspondence and forms 
- Using 'green' Cleaners that are dispensed in bulk 
- Purchase durable equipment and furniture 
- Purchase low-VOC carpets and fabrics 
- Use reused building materials or those from sustainable sources 
- Use latex paints that are low-VOC 
- Perform preventative maintenance on all appliances, HVAC systems, plumbing, and vehicles 
- Use less toxic materials 
- Minimize use of pesticides and herbicides in landscaping 

Use Water Efficiently
- Track overall water usage and wastewater 
- Have a numeric goal to reduce water consumption over time 
- Perform preventative maintenance to stop drips and leaks 
- Have high efficiency dishwashers 
- Have low flow toilets (use 1.6 gallons or less per flush - 1.6 gpf) 
- Discourage water-based cleanup (sweep first) 

Conserve Energy
- Track overall energy bills 
- Have had an energy audit to identify efficiency opportunities 
- Have a numeric goal to reduce energy usage over time 
- Have evaluated existing ovens and other kitchen equipment for energy efficiency 
- Use high efficiency compact fluorescent light bulbs in all rooms and in canned lighting 
- Have a high efficiency heating & air conditioning (HVAC) system 
- Perform preventative maintenance on HVAC system 
- Have individual thermostats for each room 
- Have installed additional insulation 
- Use natural lighting
Source of energy
 
- Purchase ENERGY STAR computers, appliances, etc. 

The Empress    The Empress

For more information on The Empress, see www.TheEmpressRva.com or contact Melissa Barlow at mb@TheEmpressRva.com or 804-592-4000.

For more information on the Virginia Green program, see www.deq.state.va.us/Programs/PollutionPrevention/VirginiaGreen.aspx.

Virginia GreenVirginia Green is a partnership supported by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Virginia Hospitality & Tourism Association, and the Virginia Tourism Corporation.

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