Success Story:

Gianpaulo RuizWhen Gianpaulo Ruiz, Executive Chef at the Virgin SF Clubhouse, took his position, he knew he wanted to make a difference in energy consumption at the Clubhouse. He identified and implemented simple yet meaningful opportunities to reduce energy consumption while maintaining the level of quality and comfort his guests expect from a first-class lounge. Here’s how he used simple behavior, equipment and engagement strategies to create a successful Sodexo Energy Reduction Program.


From the start, Ruiz emphasized efficient behavior before major capital investments. Although simple, the changes he implemented made a real impact. In fact, changes in lighting alone resulted in 5% total energy savings.

  • A dishwasher usage protocol was established based on passenger count; employees fill one of the two dishwashers at a time and only run it when full. If passenger count is low enough, only one machine is run.
  • A start-up/shut-down schedule was implemented to ensure exhaust hoods and induction burners that had previously run throughout the day were shut down when not in use.
  • A light shutoff protocol was established to ensure lights are only kept on during the eight-hour service, when they had previously been kept on 24/7.


Ruiz fortified his client relationship by proactively making a number of energy efficiency changes. As a general practice, he’s constantly looking for ways to save—which his client welcomes.

Show your team members the dollar amount. Give them an idea of the percentage of energy that they’re saving. Making it real is what engages them and motivates them to keep dropping the numbers.

—Gianpaulo Ruiz
Executive Chef
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

  • Virgin Atlantic, who was first made aware of Ruiz’s new policies when he shared with them a review of end-of-the-year energy bills, was ecstatic to learn that the Sodexo team had taken the initiative to implement low- and no-cost practices to save them energy and money.
  • The positive results engaged the client in the mutual goal of energy efficiency, leading to a more collaborative relationship. Specifically, Ruiz proposed replacing CFL lights throughout the Clubhouse with high-performing LED bulbs, using a cost analysis of the capital input and associated savings. Virgin recognized the value of more efficient lighting and agreed to make the change.


A key to the success of the energy reduction program has been engaging internal team members in the goal of saving energy. Ruiz did this by sharing the successes.

  • Team members were originally made aware of the energy efficiency initiative through daily briefings where the importance of energy efficiency was emphasized and process changes were explained.
  • After implementation, actual energy savings were communicated to team members, showing them that their contributions were making a difference and that the client was enthusiastic about their efforts.
  • In addition, the client has rewarded Ruiz’s proactive approach by passing on some of the savings generated through energy efficiency. The Sodexo team was rewarded with new uniforms and an end-of-the-year holiday party celebrating the team’s achievements.