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31 July, 2020

Is net zero the new Big Mac? Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced the opening of the first net zero fast food restaurant in Disneyland Florida, which boasts the newest, most innovative technologies to help generate all the power needed to operate it.  

The building absorbs solar energy via the roof’s 1,066 solar panels and the 140 square meters of photovoltaic windows over the fancy outdoor patio. The parking lot uses energy collected by solar powered poles during the day to illuminate it at night and the Golden Arches get electricity from a set of stationary bikes should anyone wish to burn their calories before munching on a McBurger.  

The restaurant also has by ‘breathing’ features, such as the windows that help to efficiently regulate indoors temperature. The ‘breathing walls’ include 160 square meters of plant-covered-wall and function as the lungs of the building, capturing CO2 emissions.  

We see great value in having one test site hosting various interesting and, one hopes, worth-while innovations promoting sustainability, and we hope others will follow suit. Inviting tech and sustainability start-ups to experiment in real life could help them and the brands to learn before expanding the successful ideas to a national, and maybe even global, level. 

However, there is a risk of these sites remaining simply gimmicks and PR stunts… Maccy Dee’s, we’re watching, and we expect to see breathing walls on our local flagship soon!

By Marie Guérinet

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