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McDonald’s unveils net zero restaurant at Disney World

Buena Vista 1

Last week, McDonald’s said that it had completed construction of a first-of-its-kind restaurant that will create enough renewable energy on-site to cover 100% of its energy needs on a net annual basis. The restaurant will be a learning hub for McDonald’s to test solutions for reducing energy and water use.

The 8,024 square-foot restaurant features:

  • A solar-paneled roof, photovoltaic glass panels integrated throughout the building, and solar parking lot lights on the property’s exterior;
  • An automated energy system and passive ventilation dining-room that circulates air and regulates temperature;
  • Interactive elements that educate customers about the restaurant’s sustainable design – from stationary bikes that generate electricity and illuminate McDonald’s Golden Arches to tablet games that teach children and adults about renewable energy.

The restaurant was designed by Ross Barney Architects (Chicago) with Architect/Engineer of record CPH (Florida).

McDonald’s will pursue the International Living Future Institute’s Zero Energy Certification over the next year to help reach their Net Zero Energy status. Also, data and learnings from the restaurant will inform McDonald’s global sustainability efforts, including progressing toward the company’s science-based target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 36% in restaurants and offices by 2030 compared to a 2015 base year.

This follows McDonald’s 2019 investment in two virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) that will expand the amount of renewable energy available in the U.S. Once online, the generated energy will be equivalent to over 2,500 restaurants-worth of electricity. McDonald’s investment will help prevent 700,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually, according to the company.

The restaurant is located on the west side of Disney’s property on Buena Vista Drive near the All-Star Resorts, which are currently closed due to COVID-19. The restaurant is now open for carry-out, Drive Thru and McDelivery service and will open for dine-in service later in the year.

Marty Spitzer, Senior Director, Climate and Renewable Energy, World Wildlife Fund, said, “The design of this global flagship restaurant is another positive step in how McDonald’s is bringing proven renewable energy solutions under one roof, and most importantly, educating customers about the importance of sustainable practices and renewable energy sources.”