Project of the Year - Retail/Leisure
This award recognises and celebrates buildings that most effectively demonstrate high levels of user satisfaction and comfort while delivering outstanding measured building performance, as well as the work and dedication of the project team. Projects had to have been completed between 1 June 2018 and 31 August 2020.
Winner: McDonald's Global Flagship - Buena Vista - Net Zero Energy – Cyclone Energy Group
McDonald’s at Walt Disney World in Florida is believed to be the world’s first net zero quick-service restaurant.
With an emphasis on people’s experience, the designers created a large veranda for outdoor dining, covered by custom-built glass with amorphous silicon photovoltaic (aSi PV) cells and high-volume low-velocity fans, which operate based on temperature and humidity conditions to maintain thermal comfort.
While aSi PV panels are not widely used, they are outperforming predicted electricity production by more than 200%, and the remainder of the roof is covered with 350W monocrystalline photovoltaic cells. Unusually, the restaurant is all-electric (no gas for cooking or heating), and the solar PV system is sized to power the entire peak load of the building.
The building has many other features not common to McDonalds' or other retail restaurant brands. Most notably, its three cooking stations have a never-before-used control system that allows them to go into stand-by operation, resulting in substantial energy savings on equipment that consumes 66% of the building’s annual energy.
The interior has operable windows for natural ventilation – which operate automatically based on condition readings from an onsite weather station – and all-LED lighting. There is also a VRF HVAC system, energy recovery for the kitchen make-up air, daylight harvesting controls, stand-alone solar PV parking lot lights, permeable pavers, a living facade and interactive features, including a McDonald's logo lit by customers riding a stationary bike that generates power.
A customised systems manual was created to help managers navigate troubleshooting and contact the correct help lines.
The design energy model for the new restaurant estimated 666,000kWh of energy consumption annually and 705,000kWh of renewable energy production, and the project’s goal was for it to be net zero energy after 12 consecutive months in operation. Modelling using the data collected to date indicates a building that will consistently be net-positive every year.