Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Welcome to Chipotle. Please select your meat, beans, salsa...and energy."

I saw this on MySpace today (yes, some of us still use it!), and I thought it was cool: The Collin Creek location of Chipotle (a legendary haunt in the early days of this blog) is about to have solar panels installed as part of the company's new energy initiative:
The solar panels would reduce the restaurants’ traditional energy consumption during peak hours of energy use – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The amount of power produced will eliminate more than 41 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, according to a Chipotle news release.

Chipotle has purchased enough solar panels to install in about 75 restaurants, Arnold said, but identifying which Chipotle locations receive them is an ongoing process.

The company is looking at the restaurants’ access to sunlight, the lease terms, as well as neighboring buildings. Considering multiple criteria and parties involved, including municipalities, can make the process tedious, but it’s what the corporation deems right, Arnold said.

The solar power initiative stems from the restaurant chain’s core principle of “food with integrity,” Arnold said. It has been known to serve naturally raised meat from antibiotics- and hormone-free environments and is looking to expand in its use of local produce.
As I said, there was a time when I was at this Chipotle pretty much every week; the personnel knew me and my cohorts so well that they would tell us our orders before we even said anything. (This location, usually referred to as "15th Street" because of the exit off Central Expressway used to access it, was also the site of one of my craziest gastronomic accomplishments: the successful completion of the Two-Burrito Challenge, or 2BC for short.)

With the exception of special visits with the jazz combo (especially during exam week), I don't get to this location quite as often these days (especially since one opened up in my own neighborhood back in '05), but it's great to see the location doing well, and, as a freestanding building, it makes sense that this location is one to receive the solar panels.

And while I may not be a "greenie" or anything (even if I do own a pair of Birkenstocks), it's still nice to see a building become self-sustaining in this manner. So it's cool to think that, while any trip to Chipotle offers the choice of "black or pinto beans?", going to 15th Street will also give the option of "regular or solar power?". My proverbial hat (which is made of foil on Halloween) is off to them.

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