At a new McDonald’s restaurant that just opened at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida (with COVID-19 protection measures in place), solar panels covering the roof—and solar glass panels throughout the building—are designed to generate enough energy that the restaurant can run on 100% renewable power. [Photo: McDonald’s] Running fully on renewable power, or reaching a goal of “net zero” energy use, “is still sort of at the technological edge for buildings,” says Carol Ross Barney, principal at Ross Barney Architects, the firm that led the design of the new restaurant. “But it’s definitely the future.” This restaurant will serve as a lab for McDonald’s to test sustainability solutions that the company can later replicate elsewhere, including new kitchen equipment that can help shrink energy use. “For a restaurant, the biggest energy use is in cooking, especially in a high-volume restaurant like this one at Disney World,” she says. The company will test new equipment for cooking burgers that can go on standby when there are fewer customers (older equipment had to keep running) and new coolers and freezers that are as efficient as possible. [Photo: McDonald’s] In the net-zero-energy McDonald’s dining room, a passive ventilation system circulates the […]


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