Global fast food giant McDonald’s announced last week that it had opened the world’s first net-zero emission McDonald’s restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, with over a thousand rooftop solar panels covering 100% of its energy needs on a net annual basis.
The new global flagship McDonald’s restaurant will serve as a learning hub for the company to test solutions for reducing energy and water use and is intended as “a testament to the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainable innovation.”
A total of 1,066 solar panels have been installed on the restaurant’s roof and are capable of generating 600,000kWh each year. Outdoor porch skylights will also contribute to the restaurant’s energy consumption, utilising 1,500-square-feet of solar glass generating almost 70,000kWh each year.
Other clean design aspects include 600-square-feet of louvered windows that open and close, automatically allowing cool air in and warm air out, and 1,700-square-feet of green, plant-covered walls which will absorb CO2.
Parking lots will be lit by solar-powered lighting poles, while low-flow plumbing fixtures, water draining pavers, and native Florida plants will help to ensure water is used efficiently.
To top it off, the restaurant even has stationary bikes for customers to use which will turn power into kinetic energy powering the McDonald’s Golden Arch string lights.
“These unprecedented times have only heightened the importance of innovation that fosters long-term security and sustainability,” said Marion Gross, McDonald’s chief supply chain officer for North America.
“While health and safety in our restaurants is our top priority, we must also remain focused on creating positive change for our communities and the planet. This restaurant marks an important step in McDonald’s journey to reduce our carbon footprint and identify meaningful solutions in the fight against climate change.”
Located on the west side of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, on Buena Vista Drive near the All-Star Resorts, the new restaurant’s “soft-launch” period means that it is ony open for Drive Thru and McDelivery services – in line with the company’s strict measures implemented in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The restaurant, in an effort to solidify its “Net Zero Energy status.” Will pursue the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Zero Energy Certification over the coming year, which is the world’s only international zero energy certification.
According to ILFI, the certification serves to demonstrate “that the building is truly operating as claimed, harnessing energy from the sun, wind or earth to produce net annual energy demand through a third-party audit of actual performance data” while providing a case study platform to inform and accelerate other zero energy efforts around the world.
Data and lessons learned from the new McDonald’s restaurant will also serve to inform the company’s global sustainability efforts including its science-based target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 36% in restaurants and offices by 2030.