Chipotle is going green. The new free-standing Chipotle in Gurnee, Illinois will have a wind turbine on-site that’s expected to generate 10 percent of the restaurant’s electrical power. And that’s not all — here’s what else is in the works:
• use of recycled drywall, recycled barn metal, and primers and paints that contain fewer chemicals;
• a variety of energy and water conservation elements inside the restaurant, including LED lighting, highly efficient faucets and toilets, and Energy Star rated kitchen equipment;
• a 2,500 gallon underground water cistern that will harvest rainwater to irrigate the landscape;
• native plants outside that will require less watering and fertilizer;
• and asphalt in the parking lot that will reflect the sun’s heat, rather than absorb it, making the entire site cooler.
Expect to see more and more of this in the near future; the economic situation is unpredictable, to say the least, and restaurants need to set themselves apart from the competition any way they can. One of the best ways? Go green. Chipotle is the first major chain to undertake so many green reforms, but a few smaller restaurants have already been on the green bandwagon for a while. Florida-based Pizza Fusion has been making news with its LEED-certified restaurants, and the Shake Shack in New York has had all of its electricity powered by wind for over a year now.
If it works in Gurnee, we hope to see similar changes at other Chipotle locations. Now, if only those burritos didn’t pack so many calories.