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Market Square eatery honored for green achievements

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 8:40 p.m.
Jasmine Goldband
The long table in the Sienna Sulla dining room is made from eco-friendly materials. Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Jasmine Goldband
The tables in the bar area at Sienna Sulla are made from eco-friendly materials. Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review

At most restaurants, green is a garnish.

It's more than that at Sienna Sulla Piazza in Market Square.

Here, it's a philosophy.

From its furnishings crafted from recycled materials to its re-purposed paper products, the stylishly laid-out eatery has made a mission of incorporating green products and energy efficiency into its day-to-day business.

And someone's taken notice.

The Boston-based Green Restaurant Association (www.dinegreen.com) has recognized Sienna, at 22 Market Square, as one of the country's greenest and energy-leanest.

“We know a lot of patrons appreciate it (going green), but it's a neat thing for us to be doing anyway,” manager Mike McCoy says.

Sienna completed an extensive certification process that measured an establishment's sustainability in nearly 50 categories, association CEO and founder Michael Oshman says. Among the criteria was a restaurant's use of natural lighting and its ability to retain a comfortable room temperature for a lower, more fuel-efficient cost.

One measure came recently when Sienna purchased a tankless water system that heats water as it flows. Heating stored water sometimes can take longer and require more energy.

Sienna opened in Market Square in April, taking over a storefront that once belonged to the upscale Italian restaurant Bella Sera, which frequently made the Green Restaurant Association's green list. Oshman says Sienna caught evaluators' eyes because it extensively serves local and organic foods, while also using recycled furniture and focusing on chemical reduction and water efficiency.

In all, 14 Pennsylvania restaurants have received Green Restaurant recognition in the past year, including Autumn at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, the Fallingwater Cafe in Mill Run and Cafe Phipps at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Oakland.

Going green only makes sense, McCoy says. The restaurant industry earns roughly $1.7 billion each day, and accounts for nearly 5 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product in any given year, according to the National Restaurant Association.

More Americans are becoming environmentally conscious of their ecological footprint, even when they go out to eat.

“There are so many people who are environmentally conscious, who really care about whether where they go is also a firm believer in green efficiency,” McCoy says. “It's important to give them what they want. And today more people are paying way more attention to their environment.”

Chris Ramirez is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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