McDonald’s, New York, New York
3,500 Sq. Feet
Annual Cash Savings: $4,206
Annual Energy savings: 64,707 kWh
Payback period: 1.3 years
Prevented 77,648 pounds of pollution
Few company names are as solidly embedded in American culture as McDonald’s. So when Dominick Loweth installed energy efficiency equipment in one of the six Manhattan McDonald’s franchises he oversees, it showed that saving energy had become mainstream.
Loweth is a heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) expert, with more than 36 years of experience in the field. Currently he is setting up an Energy Management System (EMS) for the six Big Apple franchises. But that’s just his latest foray into energy efficiency. In one of the six restaurants, he’s already upgraded the lights, fitted economizers in HVAC units, and installed tinted glass walls.
Knowing that local McDonald’s franchises must reflect the high-quality standards of the corporation, Loweth upgraded 25 fixtures from T-12 fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts to T-8 lamps with electronic ballasts. This makes the restaurant look brighter and cleaner. Not only does the new lighting enhance ambience and make the food look more irresistible, it also saves in energy costs.
Sometimes you have to aim high to save money. Loweth installed rooftop HVAC units equipped with economizers. Economizers allow air-conditioning units to use up to 100 percent outside air instead of return air when the outside temperature is less than the inside temperature. In a city like New York where the temperature is frequently in the 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit range, or where facilities generate substantial heat (such as restaurants), economizers can help businesses capture savings.
Almost all McDonald’s restaurants have glass walls. How else can patrons see their children romping through the McDonald’s play land? These glass walls don’t have to waste energy. By using a tinted coating to keep solar heat out in the summer and interior heat in during the winter, Loweth made sure he would not close any windows of opportunity on energy savings.
Loweth contacted his local utility, Consolidated Edison (Con Ed), and requested a free energy audit to find out what else he could do to improve the facility’s energy efficiency. The audit identified three more measures to save on energy costs:
Loweth agrees that he will soon have to tackle these new projects.
Encouraged by his energy-saving success, Loweth is now installing an EMS — a system perfect for facilities that run on routine schedules. The system will ensure that lights, HVAC systems, and other equipment are off when the restaurants are closed and on when staff members come in for the breakfast shift. No longer will management worry about staff forgetting to set back thermostats or turn off the lights. The EMS should be operational soon. Loweth can’t wait to show his supervisor, managers, and staff the 30-percent savings generated by the new system.
“Making use of the latest energy-efficient technologies can add up to 30 percent in energy savings. Our store exemplifies how this can be accomplished!”