In an increasing number of locations, fast food restaurants are converting to solar energy to not only help the environment, but to boost their bottom line as well. Here are a few examples from around the country.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, based in Denver, went solar with rooftop solar panels on 75 restaurants across the U.S. The chain didn’t haphazardly decide which restaurants would get solar installations, either. They chose them based on access to sun exposure, available local incentives and solar rebates, and the energy the restaurants consumed. These systems are expected to save 41 million pounds of CO2 emissions, and some of the locations are Dallas, Austin, Houston and Denver. The chain is aiming for more sustainable energy options, and is the first ever to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification at the Platinum level.
This restaurant, located in Brooklyn, became New York’s first restaurant to go solar. It not only features a $40,000 solar outdoor patio installation, but also a rainwater collection system, blender powered by bicycle power, recycling and composting stations, and efficient lighting systems as well.
A Burger King in Germany has drastically cut energy costs by installing not only solar, but wind and other systems that are expected to reduce energy expenses by 45 percent and CO2 emissions by 120 metric tons per year. The restaurant has more than 720 photovoltaic modules that have the capacity of generating more than 53,500 kWh of electricity annually. The restaurant also has a solar powered electric vehicle charging station as well.
The venerable chain took the solar plunge with the company’s first environmentally conscious restaurant in Carpinteria, California. Solar panels were but one component of a sustainability program that also included rainwater reuse and low voltage lighting. The panels were expected to generate an estimated 9,443 kWh per year.
Last but not least, a Taco Bell in Albany, California went with a solar thermal system to provide hot water for sanitation, dishwashing, cleaning and restrooms. The system was designed to reduce their hot water usage by about 500 gallons per day, and the company received a state rebate for nearly $4,000. When combined with their 30 percent Federal Tax Credit, the total cost of their solar thermal system was cut in half.
Let’s hope that not only more restaurants, but also more businesses in general, see the benefits of solar power and other environmentally friendly practices.