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Golden Arches Go Green

Sullivan Solar Power

McDonald's in Riverside is doing its best for the health of our environment. The restaurant, at 2242 University Ave., is celebrating the recent installation of a new fast charger for electric cars, but that's just its latest environmentally friendly innovation.

Back in 2010, owners Tom and Candace Spiel overhauled the then 44-year-old McDonald's to install a host of green building features. Chief among them was a 67.62-kilowatt solar system attached to a carport shade structure. At the time, the installation of the solar power system, which provides energy for the McDonald's, helped the city of Riverside pass its milestone of producing more than 2 megawatts of solar power through residential and business projects. The McDonald's renovation also included the use of recycled glass countertops, insulation made from denim, natural and tube lighting, drought-tolerant landscaping, low-flow plumbing, and fryers that use less oil. The Spiels' efforts earned the building LEED Gold certification-it's one of only four McDonald's locations in the United States to earn that honor. The Spiels, who run nine McDonald's restaurants in the area, marked the occasion of the rebuild by temporarily coloring the eatery's signature golden arches green.

"We are thrilled to be part of the solar milestone in Riverside and we wanted solar for so long," said Candace Spiel in 2010. "A big part of why we did this was to show the community what can be done in sustainability."

The Spiels continue to exemplify the best in sustainability with its new Blink Direct Current Fast Charger, which allows electric cars to charge their batteries from zero to 80 percent in under a half-hour. A standard electric car charger, which takes anywhere from four to six hours for a full recharge, is also on site. Both chargers are part of the Blink network, which allows electric car drivers to join via membership or use a station with a guest pass.

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