The Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) has issued a June 7, 2012, fact sheet calling on school districts to consider the energy costs of cold beverage vending machines when deciding whether to renew vending contracts. Claiming that a traditional vending machine consumes approximately 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year (kWh/yr), the fact sheet estimates that schools spend an average of $313 in annual energy costs per machine.  

“When multiplied over a total number of machines housed on school property, the electricity cost required to operate cold beverage vending machines amounts to a significant hidden expense for schools that should be subtracted from school beverage vending revenue,” argues PHAI, which has also provided a breakdown of vending machine energy costs by state.  

As an example, the fact sheet thus calculates that a large California school district with 225 traditional vending machines would accrue $477,000 in electricity fees over five years. To ameliorate these “hidden costs,” PHAI urges schools to save energy by either phasing out machines altogether or reducing their number on school property. It also recommends that districts insist on installing only the most energy-efficient machines or require the beverage company that owns the machines to pay electricity costs.  

PHAI is affiliated with Northeastern University School of Law and headed by law professor and anti-tobacco advocate Richard Daynard.