“Jammin’ Crepes” in Princeton Offers Lessons In Low-Tech Sustainability

Jammin' Crepes on Nassau Street in Princeton. (click to expand.)

Jammin’ Crepes on Nassau Street in Princeton. (click to expand.)

Last year, “Jammin’  Crepes” opened a much-anticipated bricks-and-mortar store on Nassau Street in Princeton (previously they had operated from a stall at the Thursday Farmer’s Market). The new store offers several lessons in how to operate a sustainable enterprise in 2015. Some of the effort on sustainability is obvious to the customer. Other aspects of its light environmental footprint are less obvious, but every bit as important for helping to reduce the impact of unsustainable practices that became commonplace in the 20th century.This post is not meant as a review of the restaurant. But if you want an indication of how well it’s doing, check out the photo of lots of happy eaters below, or yelp reviews here.

Diners at Jammin' Crepes in Princeton (click to expand.)

Diners at Jammin’ Crepes in Princeton (click to expand.)

Instead, we want to focus on the sustainability features. Jammin’ Crepes makes a big effort to reduce waste, with all serving materials being compostable or recyclable:

Composting station at Jammin' Crepes. (click to expand.)

Composting station at Jammin’ Crepes. (click to expand.)

Perhaps less obviously, Jammin’ Crepes is sustainable because of its ultra-walkable location. Surrounded by other stores, apartments, and Princeton University, the restaurant is easily accessible for many customers without requiring a dedicated car trip.

Jammin' Crepes site on Nassau Street in walkable downtown Princeton (click to expand.)

Jammin’ Crepes site on Nassau Street in walkable downtown Princeton (click to expand.)

Note the mixed-use building, with residential and commercial units. Mixing uses is key for reducing unnecessary car journeys. A Platinum-LEED building in a car-dependent location still generates substantial pollution and congestion associated with just getting to the building. That is not the case with Jammin’ Crepes.

The restaurant is also an adaptive re-use. Notice the plaque outside:

ETS plaque outside Jammin' Crepes in Princeton. (click to expand)

ETS plaque outside Jammin’ Crepes in Princeton. (click to expand)

The text reads:

“From 1948 to 1964, this building was the site of the first offices for ETS, the world’s largest educational and research measurement organization.”

By reusing space in an old building, Jammin’ Crepes avoids energy waste associated with new build construction (so-called ’embedded energy’). In general, buildings in traditional, walkable town centers like this are easier to reuse than car-dependent office park-type real estate, much of which has fallen out of use in New Jersey (although the ETS site at its current exurban location is still going strong!)

The sustainability features of  Jammin’ Crepes offer an interesting contrast with the so-called ‘ultra-green’ corporate headquarters of NRG, Inc. The new NRG HQ in West Windsor will take full advantage of solar energy production, but it will be in an office park that is hard to reach by non-car transportation. As such, it reinforces car-dependent living, which has led to significant traffic, pollution, and global warming. The site advantages of Jammin’ Crepes makes it potentially more ‘green’ than the new NRG HQ. ‘Eco-bling‘ like solar panels can be good, but the often under-rated sustainability advantages of a walkable, mixed-use site matter just as much.

Been to Jammin’ Crepes? What did you make of it? Which business in Princeton make the greatest efforts on sustainability? Let us know in the comments section below!

This entry was posted in Downtown Vibrancy, Princeton, Sustainability and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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