McDonald’s meet its sustainability targets

McDonald’s has installed Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) from Trend Controls across 1,100 of its UK restaurants to reduce costs and help make it one of the world’s most sustainable quick service restaurant chains.

Since it was founded in 1954, McDonald’s has grown from a family burger stand to one of the world’s most recognisable restaurant chains, with more than 30,000 locations in 118 countries. The company opened its first UK restaurant in 1974, which is still operating in Woolwich, London, and it now has a total of 1,200 restaurants across the UK.

Energy efficiency is incredibly important to McDonald’s and it has a carefully defined and maintained sustainability agenda. Peter Schroeder, the company’s Energy and Environment Consultant, explains: “Like many other multi-site quick service restaurants, energy usage is something that we need to monitor and manage from cost and environmental perspectives. We are also part of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme and have to measure and report our energy consumption. These factors mean that it is more important than ever that we use energy wisely.”

Each one of its restaurants is given strict usage targets and has the latest technology to monitor and manage its energy. The task of installing this equipment is given to Sidcup based Powell Systems Engineering, a company which has enjoyed a long and successful working relationship with Trend Controls.

The BEMS at the McDonald’s outlets are based around Trend’s IQ3xcite controllers. The versatility of the devices has proved ideal in every situation, despite the wide variety of air conditioning and other plant they are called to control. The controllers monitor cold stores, fridges and air extracts at each site, as well as monitoring and controlling air conditioning. At drive-through locations, the controller also switches on and off external signage and car parking lighting automatically, depending on natural light levels.

The IQ3xite controllers have also been configured with ModBus for energy monitoring functionality and each restaurant is linked to McDonald’s virtual private network (VPN), which enables all data to go to a central monitoring station. Every restaurant manager is able to view data and temperature trends, and can change times and settings using a PC with a graphical user interface. Powell Systems Engineering is also able to update the software as necessary, view system data, adjust plant settings and rectify system problems, all without visiting the site.

McDonald’s has increased the numbers of customers it serves by nearly 20 per cent in three years, whilst at the same time reducing its energy consumption through precise temperature control and avoiding the unnecessary operation of plant and lighting. New innovations such as rooftop air handling systems with fan speed control and water filter monitoring are also being implemented to make further savings.

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