This is why Energy, Emissions & Climate Change is among our most material issues. Our company is working to reduce our energy consumption in order to build and maintain trust with our stakeholders, realize cost savings and, most importantly, be part of the global community committed to reducing its GHG footprint.
A meaningful way we can accomplish these goals is by improving the efficiency of our restaurants. Restaurants are energy-intensive and open long hours, which makes energy efficiency a key part of our roadmap to sustainable restaurant design. To minimize the impact of our restaurants on the environment, we employ a combination of new technologies and smart operating practices that allow us to use less energy. Decreasing energy use, in turn, lowers our GHG emissions, allowing us to address U.N. Sustainable Development Goal No. 13: Climate Action.
Since 2005, we have demonstrated a steady track record of reducing energy consumption. Through 2017, we were pleased to achieve a targeted 22 percent reduction in energy use compared to our 2005 base year for company-owned and participating franchise restaurants. Energy initiatives have resulted in saving an estimated 4.3 billion MWh of electricity.
Similarly, transitioning to better technology to reduce building energy usage also provides focus to reduce energy to an entire site. Over 75 percent energy reduction has been achieved while maintaining high security standards for the parking lot, drive-thru and entire site. Greater reduction of light pollution after sunset contributes to the overall sustainability goal.
These system-level efficiencies have occurred even as our restaurant count has grown. We have also made steady improvements in GHG emissions intensity per restaurant. By the end of 2025, we hope to reduce our average restaurant emissions by an additional 10 percent and will continue to report our progress through CDP-Climate and other reporting frameworks.
Our current best practices are included in our green building standards. Although we have ample experience and well-documented strategies, innovations in lighting, air-conditioning, ventilation and cooking equipment are always evolving. We carefully evaluate and apply new technologies when they provide the right balance of environmental and economic benefits.
Yum!’s three brands offer very different menu options — and the opportunities and challenges they face regarding energy efficiency differ as well. Below, see how Yum! restaurants worldwide are finding ways to lower their emissions.
“As Yum! grows as a business, we aim to do so in a way that respects the planet. With our system quickly expanding, it’s more important than ever for us to minimize each restaurant’s environmental impact.”
JON HIXSON – Yum! Vice President, Government Relations and Global Citizenship & Sustainability
* Per restaurant, GHG emissions can be impacted by factors such as conservation measures, weather and changes in store locations. Numbers are representative of reporting markets. This currently includes our China franchise market. For more information, see our CDP-Climate response.
Exhaust hoods capture heat and steam produced by our cooking equipment and are essential for the safe operation of our kitchens. They are also the primary driver of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) energy use because they remove large quantities of air during operating hours. This air needs to be replaced, which uses energy. Restaurants can reduce the volume of air that passes through their hoods by using efficient equipment that generates less heat and by orienting hoods to decrease exhaust rates. At Pizza Hut restaurants in France and Germany, improved hood design reduced exhaust by more than 50 percent, with a payback of less than two years. Taco Bell has implemented higher efficiency HVAC systems in more than 1,000 restaurants from 2012–2017, reducing energy usage by approximately 25 percent.
From kitchens to dining areas, parking lots to signage, lighting is an important part of all our restaurants. Transitioning to LED lights in both new and existing restaurants makes for a double win: The lights use less energy and last longer than traditional bulbs, so less material is wasted. When combined with daylight and motion sensors in strategic areas, we can further reduce our electricity use. Installing LED lights at all KFC restaurants in Australia led to a 50 percent decrease in lighting power consumption. Taco Bell is retrofitting its existing restaurants with LED light fixtures.
As with all types of equipment, the design and performance of the ovens that Pizza Hut uses to bake its pizzas has improved greatly over the years. Newer ovens offer benefits in insulation and energy efficiency. Upgrading equipment brings not only cost- and energy-saving benefits, but it also helps to ensure consistency, allowing us to deliver quality pizzas everywhere we operate. New high-efficiency ovens, as well as new HVAC and controls installed in 2017, are expected to save a total of roughly 832.4 MT CO2e at Pizza Hut restaurants in the U.S.
Frying KFC chicken uses significant amounts of energy, which is why KFC restaurants worldwide have begun to explore the use of solar energy to help power its restaurants. In Australia, more than 50 KFC restaurants, both franchisee- and company-owned, are joining together to get preferred rates on a solar rollout. Meanwhile, four KFC restaurants in South Africa recently installed solar panels, which will deliver a combined savings of more than 130 MT of CO2 per year. At a Taco Bell restaurant in El Paso, Texas, a 3-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system produces 7 MWh of renewable energy per year. Taco Bell is now testing self-contained parking lot lighting, site signage and building signage using off-the-grid solar harvesting methods.
Operating more efficiently means not only upgrading individual pieces of equipment, but also improving the way that equipment and people work together. For example, motion sensors and set points for air conditioners reduce the possibility of using more energy than necessary. At KFC restaurants in Australia, extractor hoods and cookers are linked: The hood dynamically adjusts its extraction rate depending on how many cookers are venting. In certain geographies, both KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants can use smart energy monitoring tools that make them aware of peaks in energy usage and alert them to possible malfunctions. KFC Australia restaurants can monitor power use online in 15-minute intervals and receive a warning if usage spikes by more than 10 percent.
What’s left to do once equipment is fully optimized? Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have discovered that decreasing a restaurant’s physical footprint is an effective way to lower its emissions. Pizza Hut’s delivery-carryout (Delco) restaurants and Taco Bell’s urban in-line locations are our smallest restaurants, which means there’s less space to cool, heat and illuminate. Delco and in-line restaurants also share walls with existing buildings, which leads to greater energy efficiency and fewer construction materials needed. These new restaurant types have become popular both for their cost and energy benefits. More than five years ago, Pizza Hut introduced the “Delco Lite” restaurant concept, shaving several hundred square feet off its traditional Delco restaurants. Taco Bell’s in-line restaurants are a newer introduction, and the brand plans to open up approximately 275 of these restaurant types annually around the world by 2022.