Quick service restaurants are incorporating green design techniques into some of their locations.
McDonald’s, which has required installation of Energy Star-rated kitchen equipment for years and has networked equipment to save energy, is constructing a pilot store in the Chicago area with a storm water management system and a vegetative green roof. Executives will study the return on investment of the features and examine the overall energy savings for the entire store before replicating it elsewhere.
Subway’s LEED store has solar tubes that replace indoor lighting with sunlight as well as high efficiency heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
In October, Chipotle opened a green restaurant in Gurnee, IL, which features a six-kilowatt wind turbine on-site to generate about 10 percent of the restaurant’s electrical needs.
Chains that are not designing with LEED are still making changes to increase energy efficiency. Hardee’s, for example, recently began a lighting retrofit in over 300 of its restaurants. Taco Bell plans to install new “Grill-To-Order” cooking machines in all of their locations to reduce water and energy use and improve cost efficiency. Starbucks says that by 2010 it wants 50 percent of the energy used at its stores to come from renewable sources and wants to incorporate green building standards in all of its new building construction.
According to some, chains should be looking at more than just LEED and energy efficiency. The Dogwood Alliance released a report — “The 2008 Fast Food Packaging Report” and a new website called “No Free Refills!” — focused on what it calls the destructive legacy of fast food packaging and called on some the country’s largest restaurant chains to overhaul the use of paper packaging or risk being the target of a national campaign.