McDonald’s is taking advantage of Florida’s title as the sunshine state – the fast food giant recently opened a restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort that is 100% powered by the sun.
Customers will be able to enjoy all of the menu items available at other Mickey D’s locations, but at the new restaurant, their burgers and fries will be cooked with new kitchen equipment designed to lower energy use.
The equipment used at the 8,024 square-foot location, like efficient freezers and coolers or equipment for cooking burgers that can go on standby when not in use, will be tested to see if it can be used in other McDonald’s locations.
The restaurant runs on 100% renewable power thanks to solar panels on the roof and solar glass panels throughout the building, reports Fast Company. Instead of having the air conditioning running most of the time, a passive ventilation system circulates air. To ensure a comfortable temperature, windows automatically open and fans turn on when the outside temperature and humidity are at certain levels.
Renewable energy is built into the décor as well, with bicycles that, when ridden, generate electricity to light the restaurant's iconic golden arches, and games at tables for kids to learn about solar power.
Carol Ross Barney, the principal at Ross Barney Architects, the firm which led the design of the restaurant, says the restaurant “is still sort of at the technological edge for buildings.”
“For a restaurant, the biggest energy use is in cooking,” said Ross Barney.
The dining room is currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, but patrons can purchase food through the drive-thru window or via delivery. The restaurant is located near the All-Stars Resorts at Walt Disney World.