Archive for December, 2009

McDonald’s Testing NewGrass Against Sod

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

The golden arches are going green and NewGrass is helping out – at least at one McDonald’s in Southern California.

Along with testing solar technology to generate its electricity needs, a McDonald’s restaurant in Pacific Beach, near drought-stricken San Diego, will be installing a strip of NewGrass artificial grass to see how the synthetic lawn performs over time, evaluate customer reaction, and compare the costs of installation, watering and maintenance against sod grass, said NewGrass president Greg Goehner.

As part of its landscaping when it installed the solar panels, the McDonald’s franchise also laid down sod grass and a watering system that side of the building. At the suggestion of Goehner, the restaurant in early December will install a similarly sized strip of NewGrass on the opposite side of the building.

“I saw those solar panels, and I thought, holy cow, how can they be so environmentally conscious regarding their electricity and be planting turf grass right under those panels when this area is in a drought,” Goehner said. “And you add in the costs and potential environmental hazards of pesticides and herbicides, and it just doesn’t make sense. NewGrass is an environmentally aware alternative.”

The City of San Diego declared a Level 2 Drought Alert on June 1, limiting landscape irrigation for homes and business to three times a week, for no more than 10 minutes for each watering from November 1 through May 31, and no more than seven minutes for each watering between June 1 and October 31.

The McDonald’s, on Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach, recently became the first restaurant in the nationwide fast food chain to be powered by solar energy, according to news reports. The restaurant installed “solar panel trees” – solar panels that can be removed and relocated – on the roof of its parking shade. The 14-kilowatt system will help McDonald’s reduce its carbon emissions by 16 metric tons annually, the company reported.

Goehner personally approached the manager of the McDonald’s and suggested they replace the turf grass with NewGrass. Having already paid for the newly planted sod, the restaurant agreed to let NewGrass instead install a test strip on the opposite side of the building.

“We’re confident they’ll see the difference in a pretty short amount of time,” Goehner said.

The solar tree panels also include charging stations, where customers can charge electric vehicles while enjoying a Happy Meal. The project will serve as a case study for the restaurant chain to determine whether the technology should be widely implemented, according to The San Diego Source, an online news publication.

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