When you think of sustainable dining, you probably don’t think of fast-food restaurants like Subway, Starbucks and Chipotle. And yet, these fast food chains are some of the few who have successfully pursued LEED certification.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an internationally recognized third-party certification that a building meets high standards for energy savings, water efficiency, emissions reduction and improved environmental quality.
So far, only 38 restaurants have received LEED certification — and a shocking 40 percent of those are chain restaurants. For many of these large chain organizations, LEED certification is a relatively cost efficient way for not particularly green companies to flex their corporate social responsibility muscles.
One surprise on the list: sandwich chain Subway currently has one LEED certified restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC. “We believe that building stores in an environmentally responsible way is a good business practice,” says Subway’s public relations specialist Les Winograd.
Read on for more LEED-certified fast food chains — as well as some independent restaurants that are taking the LEED leap.
Continue reading: 9 Surprising LEED-Certified Restaurants