US-based Mexican food chain Chipotle has unveiled a new energy efficient restaurant design, which it says uses 100% renewable energy from wind power and solar.
The aim of the new energy efficient restaurant format – which is currently deployed in two US sites – is to maximise energy efficiency in its equipment and systems. The food chain said the renewable energy is generated through the purchase of certified credits.
Key features of Chipotle’s more responsible restaurant design concept include rooftop solar panels, “all-electric” equipment and systems to replace gas power, heat pump water heaters, smaller electric cookline and improved exhaust hoods compared to other Chipotle kitchens, and energy management systems. The latter already exist in most of its locations across the US.
The new energy efficient restaurant design pilot, which has been introduced at its Gloucester, Virginia and Jacksonville, Florida premises, is expected to help Chipotle progress towards its science-based targets, which were established in alignment with Science Based Targets initiative to reduce the business’s direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to a 2019 baseline.
A third location with the new design is set to open later this summer in Castle Rock, Colorado. But Chipotle plans to have more than 100 of its new locations in 2024 fitted with all-electric equipment and at least some additional elements from its newly announced eco design.
According to the food chain, it will continue to innovate and iterate on the new energy efficient restaurant design as it gains operational feedback and insights.
Laurie Schalow, chief corporate affairs officer at Chipotle, commented: “With our aggressive development goal in North America, we hold ourselves accountable to reduce the environmental impact of our restaurants.
“We are aiming to incorporate some elements of our responsible restaurant design into many of our new restaurant openings going forward.”
Other environmentally-focused work being undertaken by Chipotle includes standardising the installation of energy management systems at every restaurant to manage heating and cooling, refrigeration temperatures, and other equipment.
It is also exploring greater use of low carbon fuels and renewable resources in its logistics operations. Elsewhere, Chipotle said it continues to invest in projects to drive emission reductions in beef and dairy production, while also exploring the use of more regenerative agriculture practices with its supply chain partners.
Many of its restaurants are also using biodegradable cutlery, straws, bowls, cups, and lids, and they are kitted out with cactus leather chairs, artwork made from recycled rice husks, and electric vehicle charging facilities.
[Image credit: Chipotle]