Berkshire Partners LLC

At a Glance


Financial Services and Insurance

Project Types

Commercial Energy Efficiency, Data Analysis




Boston, MA


Cassidy Ellis helped Berkshire Partners LLC toward its responsible investment goals by consulting with its portfolio company, Portillo’s Hot Dogs LLC, on energy saving strategies.


Berkshire Partners LLC, a private equity firm based in Boston, Massachusetts, is continuing to develop its commitment to responsible and sustainable investment. Berkshire hired EDF Climate Corps fellow, Cassidy Ellis, to further these goals by providing consulting services to Portillo’s. She evaluated energy consumption for 35 Portillo’s restaurants and developed energy efficiency strategies applicable to existing locations and new construction.


Ms. Ellis analyzed electricity and natural gas consumption and cost data for the chain’s Illinois locations. Through research and discussions with energy efficiency engineering experts, she confirmed that restaurant energy savings depend greatly on the state of current equipment. Significant reductions in energy consumption often result from the collective benefit of incremental savings from equipment upgrades, maintenance and behavior change.

Ms. Ellis provided Portillo’s with a framework for a formal energy management program with specific recommendations to evaluate for each phase of the program. These included:

  • Audit least efficient stores and commissaries to uncover efficiency opportunities
  • Establish a revolving energy efficiency fund
  • Address energy efficiency projects requiring the least effort or expense
  • Retrofit any inefficient back-of-house lighting and neon signage
  • Optimize efficiency during the design of new construction
  • Pilot an energy management system designed for restaurants’ HVAC systems

Portillo’s can reference this framework going forward; as it continues its expansion, including into warmer climates, increased cooling load and more expensive electricity enhance the value of an energy consumption mitigation strategy.

Potential Impact

Based on Ms. Ellis’ recommendations, Portillo’s could enhance its commitment to energy efficiency and develop the formalized structure necessary to identify and quantify future energy savings. Scenario-based analysis indicated that T-12 fluorescent lighting retrofits may offer a 1.13 year payback, with other fluorescent lighting projects paying back in around 2 years. The best case energy management system scenario paid back in less than 12 months. If Portillo’s deployed an energy management system across the 35 restaurants and achieved the energy savings of similar vendor case studies, Portillo’s could theoretically reduce emissions by 6,000 metric tons CO2e, associated with a project lifetime reduction of nearly 6 million kWh of electricity and 400,000 therms of natural gas consumption.

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