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The First Net-Zero Quick-Service Restaurant?

The First Net-Zero Quick-Service Restaurant?
04 January 2021

The McDonald’s Flagship-Disney recently completed construction, aiming to be the first Net-Zero restaurant in the quick-service industry, exemplifying the fast-food leader’s commitment to build a better future. Under a shell clad in solar panels, the 8,024 square-foot restaurant, designed by Ross Barney Architects, was envisioned and developed in response to the Florida climate.  

According to the architect’s website, energy consumption is reduced by optimising building and kitchen systems. Energy is generated onsite by 18,727 square feet of photovoltaic panels, 4,809 square feet of glazing integrated photovoltaic panels, and 25 off-the-grid parking lot lights produce more energy than the restaurant uses. 

As Orlando experiences significant humidity, the building is naturally ventilated approximately 65 per cent of the year. Jalousie windows, operated by outdoor humidity and temperature sensors, close automatically when air-conditioning is required. An outdoor porch featuring Kebony wood louvered walls create an extension of the indoor dining room. 


“This is a phenomenal project for McDonald's and Kebony is extremely proud to be recognised in conjunction with the world’s first Net-Zero quick-service restaurant."


– Ben Roberts
US Marketing Director, Kebony



Picture: inside of the McDonalds Flagship-Disney by Kate Joyce.


Sutainable Development


Developed in Norway, Kebony’s revolutionary technology is an environmentally friendly and patented process which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with furfuryl alcohol - an agricultural by-product. By polymerising the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods permanently take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness and dimensional stability. This unique process also provides Kebony with its characteristic appearance, which only grows more beautiful with time. 

Additional sustainable strategies include paving materials that reduce the urban heat island effect, surfaces that redirect rainwater, 1,766 square feet of living green wall that increases biodiversity, new LED lighting, and low flow plumbing fixtures. 

Ross Barney Architects emphasise that a robust education strategy was a goal of the project. The architecture itself becomes a narrative tool in addition to interior wall graphics, interactive video content, and gaming unique to this location. The restaurant teaches visitors of all ages how to be more dedicated environmental stewards. 

Ben Roberts, US Marketing Director at Kebony commented: “This is a phenomenal project for McDonalds and Kebony is extremely proud to be recognised in conjunction with the world’s first net-zero quick-service restaurant."

Although many indepedent restaraunts and some fast food outlets have been showcasing sustainability progress for some time in pursuit of Net-Zero goals, it is hopeful that this pioneering move by one of the largest organisations in the industry will inspire others to follow suit. We have seen similar commitments from the largest in food supermarkets, such as Sainsbury's pledge to become Net-Zero by 2040, announced in January 2020. Later in the year, Tesco Supermarket revealed the creation of a £2.5 billion revolving credit facility, with interest rates based on environmental performance indicators. If sustainability targets involving renewable energy initiatives, carbon emissions and food waste are met, Tesco will benefit from a lower interest rate loan margin under the scheme.


Picture: outside of the McDonalds Flagship-Disney by Kate Joyce.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 04 January 2021


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