Big Mac, Small Footprint
Big Mac, Small Footprint

Fast food giant McDonald’s has teamed up with EnergyAustralia to open its first restaurant in the country run entirely on renewable energy, creating a blueprint of sustainability for other eateries nationwide.

Fast food and green living aren’t concepts that always sit comfortably together – but in Australia, one of the world’s biggest corporate names has created a landmark in sustainability.


McDonald’s last year joined hands with EnergyAustralia to build a restaurant in the Melbourne suburb of Melton South that is powered entirely by renewable energy.


EnergyAustralia installed 68 450W solar panels and an inverter on the restaurant in the space of just two months, and is purchasing green electricity to meet its annual demand for 42,500 kilowatt hours (kWh).


The restaurant, which opened in December 2020, is McDonald’s 1,000th outlet in Australia and has therefore been named Restaurant 1,000.


EnergyAustralia is now working with McDonald’s to ensure the next 80 restaurants it is scheduled to open over the next three years all run on 100% renewable energy.

An aerial view of the solar panels installed by EnergyAustralia on the roof of McDonald’s in Melbourne, Australia.

Fast food, slow energy burn

Restaurant 1,000 doesn’t just use renewable energy. All its lights and signs are powered by energy-efficient LED bulbs and strips which use around 80% less energy than neon lights, and there are sensors to monitor the sunlight reaching the restaurant and dim lights in the dining area to conserve energy on bright days. 


The environmentally-friendly restaurant also has a toy recycling system, uses a bulk oil supply system, makes fittings and fixtures from recycled materials, and gives diners paper straws and wooden cutlery.

EnergyAustralia hopes the successful partnership with McDonald’s will set an example in sustainability for other businesses and industries.


"Households and businesses are looking at ways to become more sustainable,” says Chief Customer Officer Mark Collette. “EnergyAustralia is proud to support McDonald's in reducing its environmental impact through the use of renewable energy.” 

Mark Collette
EnergyAustralia Chief Customer Officer Mark Collette wants to help create more zero carbon restaurants.

Green lifestyles at work and home

As well as helping McDonald’s restaurants and their customers embrace sustainability, EnergyAustralia is also encouraging its employees to live greener lifestyles.


The company is working with McDonald’s to offer an exclusive discounted rate on employees’ energy plans, and offset emissions associated with their home energy use through its Go Neutral programme.


To offset emissions, EnergyAustralia buys carbon offset units from climate action projects that bring about economic and social benefits around the world, including forest regrowth and savanna fire prevention projects in Australia and a large-scale LED light promotion in India.


The Go Neutral programme has given EnergyAustralia customers the opportunity to offset their emissions from home electricity use since 2016. It was extended to gas in May 2020, and to Business Carbon Neutral in June 2020.


To date, more than 250,000 customers have chosen to have the emissions from their energy use offset. More than 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide have been offset, which is the equivalent of taking around 500,000 cars off the road for a year. 


Milestones to a greener tomorrow

EnergyAustralia now has certification from Climate Active, an initiative between the Australian government and businesses to drive voluntary climate action. EnergyAustralia has the largest certified offset offering in the Australian energy sector, and the second largest offering nationwide.


The company’s ambition is to be carbon neutral by 2050. Its approach involves supporting the development of clean energy while helping customers manage their own consumption to use less energy, generate fewer emissions, and save money.  


Its successful partnership with McDonalds has demonstrated EnergyAustralia’s commitment to clean energy transformation, and is a milestone on the country’s journey to a new era of sustainability.