Finger-Lickin’ Green

Feel less guilty about your fast food habit

The Colonel and the talking Chihuahua would be proud. Last week in Northampton, MA a kinder, gentler fast food moved into the neighborhood. This joint Taco Bell/KFC restaurant marks the chain’s foray into green building and more eco-sensitive business practices. And though the design is no doubt the same with garish colors and typical fast food seating (pictures are yet to be made available), this is a bold leap into potential LEED territory.

Jonathan Balas, AIA, LEED AP, is the project architect who coordinated the project. He says this project is part of the company’s “E3 Initiative focusing on the Energy, Environment and Economics of our buildings.”

A greener future—to go and with a side of fries!

Here’s a rundown of a few of the steps taken to bring you a greener combo meal:

—Building materials, including countertops and insulation, contain recycled content
—Sustainably harvested wood was used during construction
—A lighting control system maximizes the use of natural light
—LED lights used in parking lights and signage
—Irrigation will use harvested rainwater
—The use of energy efficient kitchen and building equipment and fixtures with low water consumption rates
—Composting and recycling materials from the restaurant’s waste

And lest we forget, we’re in Northampton. So the collegiate and earth-friendly crowds that flock(?) to this establishment by bike or hybrid car will be taken care of. Bike paths have been constructed for easy access to the parking lot and drivers of hybrids are given priority parking.

It’s good to see Yum! Brands, the comapny that manages KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver’s, go down this green road. The behemoth runs 36,000 restaurants worldwide and seeking LEED accreditation on all future structures, while maybe not seismic, is a conscientious nod to the communities it will inhabit.

Now about those trans fats…

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