Providing insight into these pioneering decisions is Chuck Rice, AIA, IIDC, senior manager of design and construction.
Why did Chick-fil-A
use the LEED Volume Program?
We were going through a redefinition of our interiors, and
we had always been interested in LEED. We were certifying
some stores anyway. So we thought if we could be consistent with it, Volume certification would be advantageous
to the process.
Why build sustainably in the first place?
Our corporate purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful
steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive
influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”
Being a good steward involves money and people (both
employees and customers). And it involves the environment
because that’s necessary for the first two. So it is in our
nature to think about the environment. Several sustainable
elements are in every store we build.
Why pursue certification
rather than just build sustainably without that?
We wanted to be true to who we are. We are not waving our
sustainable flag, but going through the process validates
us. We certify some stores for various reasons—sometimes
we select a site where it’s required, or in some communities,
we feel it’s important to make a strong statement as a good
neighbor. We believe it’s important to set the pace.
What made you choose LEED over other rating systems?
LEED was better known. Plus, I had been attending U.S.
Green Building Council meetings, and we had a few architects
with a passion for LEED. It was a better program for us.
To accommodate certification needs,
do you need to add extra time into your
project schedule and increase your budget?
We build the time into our project schedules, and we’d be
using the same materials and strategies even if we weren’t
certifying, but there are administrative costs. The Volume
Program helps with the timing and the critical path, and
costs less than certifying those stores individually.
Why do you feel
the investment is worth certification?
It’s as much for the community as it is for us. We would still
use the same HVAC system, finishes, materials, and strategies whether certifying or not, but this puts a bow on it and
presents us to the community as a good neighbor.
How would you advise other retailers
about pursuing LEED Volume certification?
I encourage anyone building more than one store to look
at Volume certification over certifying individually. It makes
sense. The process is involved, so make a plan for it. You
can do it.
One of a handful of restaurant chains that certify stores through the LEED for Retail Volume Program, Chick-fil-A achieved the Certified level for this project. With low floor-to-floor dimensions in the
historic, 6,000-sq.-ft. structure, the team removed part of the
second floor to expand daylighting and reinforce the ordering
experience. The original frieze was restored and painted to
match a new, energy-efficient storefront similar to the original.
The space features efficient exhaust systems, plumbing,
and electrical fixtures and recycling in both front- and back-of-house operations. Recycled-content materials include a
community table and a pendant light fixture as well as LEED
medallions produced from stainless steel recycled from used
Chick-fil-A equipment. An advanced food-waste disposal system cuts the volume of organic waste by 80%, and surplus food
is donated to the needy through New York Common Pantry.
Photo: iStock.com/Gleb Semenov
Trail: LEED Volume certification
Settlement: Chick-fil-A Midtown Manhattan, New York, NY
First foray into Manhattan
1928 building previously occupied by multiple tenants
LEED Certified level requirements