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Bamboo Restaurant

Hawaii Island

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Images by: Joan Steffy Channon

Located in the historical heart of Hawi, Bamboo Restaurant has been a mainstay on Hawaii Island for decades.

In 1993, Joan Steffy Channon bought the iconic blue building, originally built in 1911 as a hotel for sugar cane laborers, and opened the restaurant shortly after. Joan dreamed Bamboo would have a big impact on people and small impact on the environment.

To turn fantasy to reality, she works to serve delicious food sourced locally whenever possible and composts all excess food. Notably, Bamboo Restaurant’s lettuce supplier uses the kitchen’s fry oil to fuel his delivery van.
To decrease Bamboo’s energy consumption, Joan installed solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in 2010 which now account for three-quarters of the restaurant’s energy use, and save the business $3,000 a month. Additionally, Bamboo Restaurant utilizes light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs throughout the building. The choice to convert to solar and switch to LEDs “was a combination of principals and economics,” says Joan. “Yes, the switch saved us money but 100% renewable energy is the only way of the future.” Looking towards that future, Joan hopes further decrease Bamboo restaurant’s carbon footprint by exploring options to reduce their gas and water consumption.

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