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McDonald’s® – The Richards Advantage

Cary, NC
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This new, more energy-efficient McDonald’s® is on track to be the first LEED-certified McDonald’s® in the state of North Carolina, thanks in part to a Cree® LED lighting solution.



A new, more energy-efficient McDonald’s is now open in the Saltbox Village shopping center in Cary, N.C. Featuring LED lighting from Cree, the new building is on-track to be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified McDonald’s® in the state.

The site’s original McDonald’s restaurant was demolished in early 2009 and rebuilt specifically to achieve LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Ric Richards, franchise owner/operator, hopes to be LEED-gold-certified by October. The store is lit 97 percent with LED lights, and when compared to the standard lighting packages, this store consumes 78 percent less electricity for lighting.


The Cary McDonald’s uses a fully automated, intelligent lighting-control system that combines light from high-efficiency Cree LED lighting and daylighting from Solatube® skylights with a photo sensor to maintain the proper light levels on work surfaces. For example, if it rains and the daylighting is reduced, the LED light levels are increased to compensate. The dimming capability of the Cree LED lighting provides the flexibility needed for this system to work effectively. Cree’s LED products are featured throughout the restaurant, including dining areas, kitchen, hallways and restrooms, as well as the drive-thru and entryways.

Other features of the green design include LED lights in the parking lot, front counters made of recycled glass and concrete, a parking lot that utilizes recycled concrete as well as re-use of the restaurant’s original ENERGY STAR®-rated equipment. The building uses water conservation measures such as low-flow toilets and landscaping consisting of native and adaptive plants and trees requiring little or no irrigation, which Richards expects will allow the restaurant to save 550,000 gallons of water annually.


“My efforts in building this store are two-fold — to be economically sound with energy-efficient methods and, at the same time, to provide a modern space for the enjoyment of customers,” Richards explained. “Cree’s LED lighting products are an important element in our ability to reach our energy-efficiency targets.”

“By seeking LEED gold certification, this McDonald’s® demonstrates the importance of LED lighting as a crucial component for green building,” said Neal Hunter, president, Cree LED Lighting. “The full line of Cree LED lights is in use in this building, from our recessed downlights to our new LED bulb. The benefits of energy efficiency and high-quality lighting make Cree LEDs a cost-effective option for retailers and businesses.”