McDonald's to dim arches for Earth Hour

March 30, 2009 12:04:09 PM PDT
If you pull up to a McDonald's restaurant around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, the golden arches will be dark. But, more than likely it will likely be open. The McDonald's located in the Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood is one of many businesses going dark Saturday night to mark Earth Hour. It plans to turn out the lights in the arches of all of its area restaurants -- including its new green addition.

The menu is the same, but that may be where the similarities end. McDonald's is going green.

"We knew that we wanted the first corporate green McDonald's in the city of Chicago. It's important because Chicago is kind of our hometown," said Max Carmona, McDonald's, senior director restaurant design.

This restaurant opened late last summer in the back-of-the-yards neighborhood. The updated design includes a roof garden, a bamboo ceiling, tabletops made from recycled detergent bottles, energy-efficient lighting and eco-friendly tips on a plasma TV. There are also skylights.

"Our skylights are connected electronically to the artificial lighting system, so on a day like today that you've got bright light, the artificial lighting actually gets dimmed," said Carmona.

This week, you'll also see these posters urging you to "vote earth" and switch off your lights for Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a global campaign to raise awareness about climate change.

"The 500 McDonald's in Chicago and Northwest Indiana are participating in Earth Hour. So on March 28th, from 8:30 to 9:30pm we're encouraging everybody to turn off their lights," said Carmona.

The restaurant hopes it's commitment to preserving the planet will be shared by its customers and community. Managers say they are already seeing signs of support.

"We have certain garbage cans for the recycled bottles, the cans and the paper and they take their time when they empty their tray and they actually put it where it belongs and they come up and let us know that they done it. So, it's like a job for them, too, that they work for McDonald's also," said McAlaine Johnson, store manager.

Earth Hour-- sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund - is Saturday night from 8:30 to 9:30.