McDonald’s CSR and Sustainability Report highlights progress on HFC-free systems

By Janet Thompson, May 23, 2014, 14:37 3 minute reading

Since 2010, McDonald’s Europe has increased progress towards HFC-free solutions, installing over 9,000 pieces of HFC-free refrigeration equipment. The McDonald’s 2012-2013 CSR & Sustainability Report further stated the company’s determination to work with its equipment suppliers to continue to develop and implement HFC-free refrigerant solutions.

In it’s 2012-2013 Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability Report, McDonald’s highlighted its new environmental sustainability strategies, which include the development and implementation of additional HFC-free refrigerant solutions. While the company has already made significant progress in replacing HFC equipment, it recognises that further focus is need, especially in regards to larger equipment.

To this end, McDonald’s plans to convene a natural refrigerants summit for the food service industry, regulators and its supply chains to continue working on the challenges associated with going HFC-free, focusing first on the challenges faced in the U.S. market. Jeffrey Hogue, Senior Director of Global CSR & Sustainability at the McDonald’s Corporation will also be presenting on the End User Panel at the upcoming ATMOsphere America 2014, taking place from 18-19 June in San Francisco.

McDonald’s Europe leads when it comes to testing of HFC-free alternatives

Taking the lead on the testing of HFC-free alternatives, McDonald’s Europe has installed over 9,000 pieces of HFC-free refrigeration equipment since 2010, including meat freezers, frozen fry dispensers and display refrigerators. From 2010 to 2013, 3,811 meat freezers, 2802 frozen fry dispensers, 1,614 blended ice machines, 688 ice machines, 503 juice dispensers and 9 beverage system chillers, all HFC-free, were deployed in Europe.

Back in 2003, the world’s first HFC-free McDonald’s restaurant was opened in Denmark. From the meat freezer to the shake machines, air conditioning to ice dispensers, all equipment in the store was entirely free of hydrofluorocarbons. Today, several more HFC-free McDonald’s restaurants have sprouted up in Denmark and Germany.

Green building standards cover HVAC & refrigeration

To advance overall sustainability in its restaurants, McDonald’s Europe has developed its own green building standards in consultation with external experts for new and remodeled restaurants. For new European restaurants, gold or platinum-level standards, which cover the areas of construction of the building shell, energy management, lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, water and renewable energy, are required. Both the gold and platinum levels present significant estimated GHG emission reductions ranging from 12-57 metric tons of CO2e reduction per restaurant/year.

For European remodeling projects, there are three levels of standards: silver (minimum required), gold and platinum. These standards focus on feasible solutions in remodeling projects covering construction practices affecting lighting, water, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), refrigeration, energy management and renewable energy installations. They provide potential GHG emission reductions of 9-50 metric tons of CO2e per restaurant/year. Between 2010-2013, some 3,200 of the 4,190 remodeled and reimaged McDonald’s restaurants in Europe were built according to the McDonald’s European Green Building Guidelines, which are internal guidelines, not a third party certification.

Expandable Energy Management System

The report also highlighted the importance of maintenance and operation of equipment for energy efficiency over time, which requires proper training and franchisee engagement. The Expandable Energy Management System, which became a global standard for new McDonald’s restaurants in 2012, helps to manage restaurants’ energy usage from HVAC and lighting systems and allows for the reduction of energy consumed by HVAC and lighting by up to 5% per year.


By Janet Thompson

May 23, 2014, 14:37

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