You know the world is changing when the Golden Arches crowd hooks up with the Rocky Mountain Institute to design a net zero energy fast food outlet – largely achievable with today’s technology!
In this case, Net Zero Energy means that a store must offset its energy consumption with on-site renewable energy generation on an annual basis. It’s not a wholly regenerative goal – but it certainly fits the strategy of “use LOTS less”.
Regardless of your opinion of fast food stores, they’re energy intensive – and there are a heck of a lot of them. So more the more outlets that turn super-efficient the better.
Optimise systems, not just processes!
This story also emphasizes a whole-systems approach to the design of the outlet – including heating, cooling, lighting, and refrigeration systems as well as the building construction, the kitchen equipment and other improvements.
The creative thinking included evaluation of renewable energy sources including solar and ground source energy; waste heat recapture technologies; and new cooking technologies.
With one of the big corporates leveraging radical sustainability, it’s likely that other chains and individual stores will follow. Running fast food with zero energy bills has got to be competitive.
As the new cooking technologies come online, they may well move beyond commercial kitchens and lead to more efficient consumer products, too.
Read the full REnewEconomy article here:
Find out more about the smart solutions that Rocky Mountain Institute is working on here: http://www.rmi.org/