Golden Arches May Become a Little Greener

McDonald’s eyeing net zero energy restaurants

Fierce Energy, February 3, 2015

With the help of Rocky Mountain Institute, McDonald’s Corporation is investigating the feasibility of developing net zero energy (NZE) fast food restaurants. Net zero energy means that in a year, an energy efficient building and the site on which it sits produces as much renewable energy as it consumes.

“Our Global Energy Leadership Board sees net zero energy as an opportunity for McDonald’s as we work to advance the energy performance of the restaurants and proactively pursue opportunities for integrating emerging technologies,” said Roy Buchert, global energy director at McDonald’s.  “We are working with the study team and our suppliers to improve the efficiency of the restaurants.  This net zero energy concept could change our approach from incremental improvements to substantial advances in energy efficiency and renewable energy integration where it makes sense.”

The results are intended to benefit McDonald’s restaurants globally, but the study targeted three locations in Chicago, Orlando and Washington, D.C., multiple scenarios were examined to determine the most practical and cost-effective pathway to net zero energy. This high-level analysis, completed together with McDonald’s internal experts and equipment suppliers, generated a set of conceptual energy conservation strategies in addition to potential savings and cost estimates for prioritization.  While all aspects of the site and building were included in the study, emphasis was placed on kitchen and HVAC equipment, which represent the predominant energy use in a typical restaurant.

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