San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Same Big Macs and Fries At ‘Green’ McDonald’s

The first ecologically friendly McDonald’s Restaurant in Central America opened last week in Lindora, Santa Ana.

This McDonald’s, a $2 million investment, is designed to improve energy efficiency and conservation, according to a company statement. Also, it said, sustainable practices to limit waste and conserve water and electricity will be incorporated.

From the exterior, the most distinguishing alteration to the eco-friendly restaurant is the “green roof,” which hosts a small garden of native grasses and agavace plants sprouting atop the roof. According to McDonald’s management, water accumulated on the roof is routed through a cleaning tank and purified so that it can be reused.

“When it rains, there is a drainage system on the roof that sends the water to a nearby tank,” said Diego Landero, general manager of the McDonald’s in Santa Ana.

“The water is cleaned, and we can reuse it to mop the floors or clean the windows.” The green roof also is used to cool the interior of the restaurant by using recycled panels to reflect the sun’s rays.

The eco-McDonald’s also has several large windows with polarized films that reflect sunlight and reduce the amount of it entering the restaurant, lowering the temperature inside.

Other conservation efforts include the use of fluorescent light bulbs, an “intelligent” lighting system that adjusts interior light levels in response to the amount of light entering the building and a recycling system set up through the municipality of Santa Ana.

The ecological McDonald’s is the first of its kind in Central America and the third in the world. The other two are in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. Currently, none of these restaurants are certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Landero said that, after a month or two of operation, the restaurant will be inspected to determine if it meets USBGC standards. If the McDonald’s does meet the requirements, it will be awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. At that time, it will become the first official ecological McDonald’s in Central America.

Despite the aesthetic alterations to the building design, visitors will find the usual McDonald’s menu and packaging.

–Adam Williams


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