The Subway restaurant chain has opened five new "eco restaurants." The new units are each designed with green aspects to reduce energy, water and waste consumption.
The units reflect the brand's commitment to social responsibility and sustainability, according to Elizabeth Stewart, marketing director and head of the Subway corporate responsibility efforts.
"We have made a commitment to make our restaurants and operations more environmentally responsible. As the largest franchise chain in the U.S., we know we can make a real difference and are working towards that goal," she said.
Two of the new restaurants are operated by Dr. Burhan Ghanayem, who is a retired environmental health scientist, and his brother Marwan. Their units are located in Cary and Durham, N.C., and are recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
Burhan, who owns a total of 10 Subway restaurants with his brother, said his eco-restaurants are educational for customers, down to the automatic shut off faucets in the bathrooms.
He plans to continue building green Subway restaurants, with two new locations already in the pipeline.
"I actually learned so much from building my first two eco-restaurants that I want to make my next even greener," Burham said. "I really care about the environment. If we can all chip in, we can really make a big difference."
George Estep, franchisee of the newly opened eco-restaurant in Kokomo, Ind., constructed a free standing drive-thru restaurant entirely from recycled material. Estep's restaurant also includes a large monitor that displays real time energy usage of the restaurant, which has turned into a customer favorite.
Additionally, two newly renovated rest areas off the Merritt Parkway in North Haven, Conn., each include a new green Subway. Among their eco-elements, both operate off of a light harvesting system through solar panels, high efficiency air conditioning, and they even have environmentally friendly plants that do not require any water maintenance.
More green restaurants to come
Among the many soon-to-open eco-restaurants is a Subway restaurant on the University of California Los Angeles campus, which is located in the newly renovated gGreen" student center. The center will even feature a walkable rooftop terrace and garden.
Additionally, many other locations have incorporated sustainable elements, such as franchisee Stephen Maycock's restaurant in Ephraim, Utah, which now includes solar panels to generate electricity.
Subway, which is 100-percent franchised, encourages franchisees to create eco-restaurants when possible as part of the company's Eat Fresh, Live Green initiative.
Read more about sustainability.