Green building isn't just the domain of off-grid hippies anymore. In fact, McDonalds is getting in on the act too

As reported in QSR Magazine recently, Ric Richards, a franchise owner in Cary, N.C., has just opened the third LEED-Gold certified McDonald's in the country. Featuring natural daylighting, LED lighting, water saving features, electric vehicle charging and an awning made from solar panels, the restaurant is projected to use 24 percent less energy than a standard McDonald's.

Even the demolition of the restaurant it replaced was green. As part of the LEED certification process, 99 percent of the materials were either recycled or repurposed in some way. Crucially though, in a world where a rapid shift to sustainability is needed across our economy, the restaurant isn't interested in hiding its green practices under a bushel. The whole building process was documented by a videographer, and visitors to the restaurant will be able to explore the building's features through a touch-screen display.

Here's how Logan Luzader of Durham-based LMHT Architects, lead architect on the project, described the motivation: 

“We really wanted to focus on not only drawing people into the restaurant and practicing sustainable design and construction, but also educating the public. So that you kind of feel like, ‘Wow I’m going to McDonald’s but I’m also learning, and I’m understanding why this is important for us to do in the construction industry.’”
Of course, between the massive greenhouse gas emissions involved in cattle farming and the huge burden of fast-food trash, there's clearly much more to greening the fast-food supply chain than simply building LEED-certified restaurants.

But you have to start somewhere.

And the enthusiasm that Richards shows for LED lighting and green design in the video below is a reminder that unlikely environmentalists are sometimes the most persuasive of all.

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McDonald's opens LEED-certified restaurant in N.C.
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