McDonald's USA

Flagship store generates its own electricity

More power out than in: The first McDonald's with a negative net energy balance
More power out than in: The first McDonald's with a negative net energy balance

The converted McDonald's store in Orlando, Florida, looks futuristic. But the truly special thing is found inside: Thanks to sustainable technologies, the building is expected to have a positive energy net balance - in other words, over the year it will generate more energy than it consumes. The guests can also participate.

The new flagship store is located on Buena Vista Drive in the west of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. According to McDonald's, the building is a test laboratory for McDonald's to test methods for energy and water savings, for example. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the restaurant will initially be open only to Drive Thru guests and the delivery company. Consumption on site and pick-up should only be possible later.

Sustainability: This McDonald's generates its own energy

Playfully explain sustainability

The approximately 745 square meter restaurant was designed by the offices of Ross Barney Architects (Chicago) and CPH (Florida). The negative energy balance is achieved with various measures. These include:
  • large roof with solar panels
  • glass photovoltaic elements integrated throughout the building
  • solar parking light
  • automated energy management
  • passive ventilation of the restaurant: the air is circulated and the room temperature regulated - the building "breathes"
The sustainable design of the building is to be explained to the guests in a playful way with interactive elements. For example, there are stationary bicycles that generate the electricity for the illuminated McDonald's logo. Board games will teach children and adults about renewable energy.

Certificate next year

"While health and safety in our restaurants is our top priority, we must continue to focus on making positive changes for our communities and the planet. This restaurant is an important step for McDonald's in reducing our carbon footprint," said Marion Gross, Chief Supply Chain Officer, North America.

McDonald's is seeking official confirmation of its zero energy footprint and is aiming for a certificate from the International Living Future Institute next year. The data and findings from the restaurant will be incorporated into the Group's global sustainability initiatives. McDonald's has announced that it intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its restaurants and offices worldwide by 36 percent by 2030 compared to 2015.

Praise from WWF

Well-known organizations recognize the company's efforts: "By proactively addressing its own carbon footprint, McDonald's has taken a leadership role in tackling climate challenges," said Marty Spitzer, Senior Director Climate and Renewable Energy of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "Creating this global showcase restaurant is another positive step."

"The McDonald's Net Zero Energy restaurant is an impressive achievement for the quick service industry and beyond," said Miranda Ballentine, CEO of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). "Investments and innovations like this increase consumers' understanding of renewable energy."

The new restaurant is just another building block in the Group's sustainability strategy. In 2019, the company invested in two virtual power purchase agreements. These are intended to significantly increase the proportion of electricity from renewable sources available in the USA. McDonald's speaks of an amount of energy for about 2,500 restaurants. According to the company, this could save 700,000 tons of CO2 annually.