California McDonald's turns its Golden Arches green

McDonald's has shifted focus in the past couple of years to step up its environmentally-friendly efforts.

For example, sustainable initiatives have been put into place at international and domestic units, and McDonald's global headquarters in Illinois earned LEED platinum certification in 2009.

The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum seal is one of the most prestigious green building awards, and exists in less than 250 buildings in the country.

Not a company to rest on its laurels, McDonald's continues to adapt green friendly practices, most recently opening its fourth LEED gold certified restaurant in Riverside, Calif. — its first green restaurant in the west.

To recognize the efforts, the restaurant's iconic Golden Arches have been turned green.

Other LEED certified McDonald's units are located in Cary, N.C., Savannah, Ga. and Chicago.

The Riverside McDonald's, which has been in existence for 44 years, is owned and operated by Tom and Candace Spiel, and reopened Thursday after an extensive remodel featuring a list of green features.

They include:

  • A light colored hardscape to reduce heat emissions
  • Native drought tolerant plants to reduce water consumption
  • Low flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water usage
  • Almost 300 photovoltaic panels to generate a percentage of solar energy power
  • Recycled denim insulation inside the building

"We were inspired to build a McDonald's restaurant that highlights the green focus of Riverside: California's first Emerald City," said Candace Spiel, McDonald's owner/operator. "We are so proud of this restaurant and its possibilities to encourage and educate our customers and community on the importance of environmental sustainability."

Education will be promoted through the restaurant's new touch screen display that includes information about the building's green features and sustainable practices that can be done at home.

McDonald's global headquarters, built in 1988, includes an open office environment, space-saving underground parking, native landscaping, rainwater collection, low mercury interior lighting, bike racks, recycling and waste programs, and more.

The company's recycling program has yielded 130 tons of recycled materials annually, including 31 tons of scrap metal, 128 tons of paper, and 80 percent of used cooking oil has been converted into biodiesel fuel.

McDonald's Corp. released its latest corporate responsibility report in January, outlining its latest global practices in the areas of sustainability and environmental responsibility.

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Dan Titus
    McDonald's 'wins' LEED Certification. How much did they have to PAY to 'win' this certification? Who is LEED's competition? and were other 'certification' entities considered?
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