McDonald’s Unveils Net-Zero Energy Restaurant

Ross Barney Architects and McDonald’s unveil their most recent collaboration; a Net-Zero Energy restaurant at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The McDonald’s Disney Flagship aims to become the first Net Zero Energy quick service restaurant and in doing so represents McDonald’s commitment to building a better future through “Scale for Good”. Incorporating visible and impactful symbols of change, the restaurant deploys architecture and technology to firmly place itself in the future.

Under a shed clad in solar panels, the restaurant is a sustainable and healthy response to the Florida climate. Energy consumption is reduced by optimizing building and kitchen systems. On site generation strategies include: 18,727 square feet of photovoltaic panels, 4,809 square feet of glazing integrated photovoltaic panels (BiPV), and 25 off-the-grid parking lot lights produce more energy than the restaurant uses.

Taking advantage of the humid subtropical climate, the building is naturally ventilated ~65% of the year. Jalousie windows, operated by outdoor humidity and temperature sensors, close automatically when air-conditioning is required. An outdoor “porch” features wood louvered walls and fans to create an extension of the indoor dining room.

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 at a building, system, and individual scale.

As an energy intensive building typology and arguably an enabler of automobile culture, the McDonald’s Flagship – Disney explores its role as a sustainable steward; revolutionizing an industry to be more thoughtful, strategic, impactful.