Do you want Trend with that?
McDonald’s is a tightly run operation, and energy consumption is just one case in point — as evidenced by the near saturation coverage of Trend building energy management systems in its UK restaurants, with more continuing to be added.
McDonald’s has installed building energy management Systems (BEMS) from Trend Controls across 1100 of its UK restaurants. Not only does this reduce costs but it also helps make it one of the world’s most sustainable quick service restaurant chains.
Since it was founded in 1954, McDonald's has grown from a family burger stand to one of the world’s most recognisable restaurant chains, with more than 30 000 locations in 118 countries. The company opened its first UK restaurant in 1974, which is still operating in Woolwich, London, and now has a total of 1200 restaurants across the UK.
Energy efficiency is incredibly important to McDonald’s, and the company has a carefully defined and maintained sustainability agenda.
Peter Schroeder, the company’s energy and environment consultant, explains, ‘Like many other multi-site quick-service restaurants, energy usage is something that we need to monitor and manage from cost and environmental perspectives. We are also part of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme and have to measure and report our energy consumption. These factors mean that it is more important than ever that we use energy wisely.’
Each restaurant is given strict usage targets and has the latest technology to monitor and manage its energy. The task of installing this equipment is given to Sidcup based Powell Systems Engineering. The company specialises in the design, installation and maintenance of BEMSs and for the last five years has been involved with specifying equipment from Trend Controls throughout McDonald’s UK outlets. Ian Powell, managing director of Powell Systems Engineering, comments, ‘For all new restaurants we get involved at the planning stage so that we can design site-specific systems, while for existing restaurants we retrofit solutions based on what is required.’
Powell Systems Engineering has enjoyed a long and successful working relationship with Trend Controls. Asked what he puts this down to, Ian Powell says, ‘We believe that Trend manufactures some of the most robust and reliable products on the market. They are also incredibly flexible, which means that whatever environment we have to install a BEMS in — whether new build or an existing location — it will meet the client’s exact needs.’
Powell Systems Engineering’s relationship with Trend has also gone from strength to strength, and the company recently became an IQ assured accredited partner. To qualify, a business must be a building-controls specialist and an authorised supplier of Trend systems. Accredited partners are regularly audited to ensure they are maintaining high standards of workmanship and quality control, and are given access to Trend’s latest diagnostic tools.
The BEMSs at the McDonald’s outlets are based around Trend’s IQ3xcite controllers. The versatility of the devices has proved ideal in every situation, despite the wide variety of air-conditioning and other plant they are called to control. The controllers monitor cold stores, fridges and air extracts at each site, as well as monitoring and controlling air conditioning. At drive-through locations, the controller also switches on and off external signage and car-park lighting automatically, depending on natural light levels.
The IQ3xcite controllers have also been configured with Modbus for energy-monitoring functionality, and each restaurant is linked to McDonald’s virtual private network (VPN), which enables all data to go to a central monitoring station. Every restaurant manager can view data and temperature trends, and can change times and settings using a PC with a graphical-user interface. Powell Systems Engineering can update software as necessary, view system data, adjust plant settings and rectify system problems — all without visiting the site.
McDonald’s has increased the numbers of customers it serves by nearly 20% in three years, whilst at the same time reducing energy consumption through precise temperature control and avoiding the unnecessary operation of plant and lighting. New innovations such as rooftop air handling systems with fan-speed control and water-filter monitoring are also being implemented to make further savings.
During 2013 Powell Systems Engineering will carry out installations at 50 more McDonald’s restaurants.
The final word goes to Peter Schroeder of McDonald’s: ‘As a global entity we believe in leading by example and make our energy-reduction targets deliberately tough in order to go beyond the minimum of what is expected. Using BEMSs in our restaurants helps us achieve our on-going environmental objectives.’