Yum! Brands' Opens Doors of 'Green' Restaurant

Yum! Brands, Inc., of Louisville, Ky., parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC, has opened an environmentally friendly KFC-Taco Bell restaurant in Northampton, Mass., according to a March 6 press release.

The restaurant is the company's first effort to pursue certification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

"The Northampton KFC-Taco Bell is part of our E3 Initiative focusing on the Energy, Environment, and Economics of our buildings," said Jonathan Balas, AIA, LEED AP, KFC Project architect, the architect who spearheaded and coordinated the project.

The restaurant uses solar energy to preheat fresh air coming into the building, which reduces the use of natural gas. It also uses a sophisticated lighting control system that maximizes the use of natural light. LED lights, the most energy-efficient available today, were installed where feasible both inside the restaurant, in the parking lot, and on signage. Utilizing more energy-efficient kitchen and building equipment and purchasing renewable energy credits also minimizes the restaurant's carbon footprint.

Harvested rainwater is used for irrigation. Fixtures with lower water consumption rates and a rain garden with filters that improve stormwater quality are in place to address conservation and water use.

Many of the materials used to build the green restaurant, such as counter tops and building insulation, contained recycled content. The wood used during construction was sustainably harvested. The restaurant composts and recycles waste, including enhanced cooking oil reclamation. The building also reduces the environmental impact of new construction and provides a testing "lab" to confirm the feasibility and green performance of new technologies.

Customers can ride their bicycles to the restaurant via a bicycle path that connects to the parking lot, and patrons driving hybrid cars will enjoy the benefit of preferred parking.