First LEED Project: McDonald's in Cary, N.C.
A shining example of McDonald’s corporate leadership and commitment to the environment can be found at its Cary, N.C. locations. This environmentally responsible, resource-efficient restaurant is one of McDonald’s first LEED-certified restaurants in the United States and represents Commercial Site Design’s venture into LEED engineering.
“Prior to the project, we didn’t have much experience with LEED engineering,” says Brian Soltz, one of the founding partners at Commercial Site Design. “Green design isn’t a common feature in the fast food industry but has slowly gained interest among developers and owners. We recognized the importance of the LEED program and become a LEED accredited engineer.”
Commercial Site Design’s prior McDonald’s experience – involved on more than 50 McDonald’s sites between 2002-2006 – gave McDonald’s and Ric Richards, the owner-operator, the confidence to utilize the civil engineering firm for this special project.
the LEED-efficient McDonald’s, a redevelopment of an existing McDonald’s site, faced strict town and shopping center requirements in addition to unique LEED-specific design qualifications.
The project manager and engineer would consider site location, development density, community connectivity, heat island effect, light pollution, and water efficient landscaping.
“Although the technical aspects of the project were interesting, the best experience was collaborating with various stockholders of the project; design professionals, contractors, owner-operator, McDonald’s, and the town of Cary and seeing our shared goal accomplished,” says Brian Soltz, project manager on the site. “As a group, we were able to build an energy-efficient fast food restaurant.”
The green, LEED-efficient McDonald’s offers visitors EV charging stations, reflective pavement design, additional tree canopy for shading, documentation of local resources, documentation of access to public transportation, and water saving measures.
Commercial Site Design would partner with Ric Richards and McDonald’s on North Carolina’s second LEED-certified McDonald’s located in Cary at Walnut Street.
The gold certified location, one of the highest honors in the LEED community, features on-site solar canopy, car charging stations, building using recycled/reused material, drought tolerant landscaping, and water-efficient bathrooms and kitchen.