The SUBWAY restaurant chain, an industry leader in providing healthier options for consumers, announced the opening of five new green SUBWAY Eco-Restaurants (with more to come), each designed with environmentally friendly aspects to reduce energy, water, and waste consumption in cost-effective ways.

“All of these new eco-restaurants reflect the brand’s commitment to social responsibility and sustainability,” says marketing director Elizabeth Stewart, who heads the SUBWAY brand’s corporate social responsibility efforts. “We have made a commitment to make our restaurants and operations more environmentally responsible. As the largest franchise chain in the U.S., we know we can make a real difference and are working towards that goal.”

Going green is something franchisee Dr. Burhan Ghanayem takes very seriously. Burhan retired as an environmental health scientist, although his passion for conservation continues.

Burhan recently opened two Eco-Restaurants in Cary and Durham, North Carolina, with his brother Marwan. Both restaurants are recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

“I have been a customer of Subway all my life,” said Burhan, who owns a total of 10 SUBWAY restaurants with his brother. “I love the food and the freshness. Compare our food to burgers and other fast food restaurants and ours is a lot healthier.”

Along with the great Customer Service experience his restaurants provide for customers, Burhan says his Eco-Restaurants are educational as well, even down to the automatic shut off faucets in the bathrooms.

Burhan plans to continue building Eco SUBWAY restaurants, with two new locations already on the horizon.

“I actually learned so much from building my first two eco-restaurants that I want to make my next even greener,” Burham said. “I really care about the environment. If we can all chip in, we can really make a big difference.”

LEED is a third-party certification program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. As part of their Eat Fresh, Live Green initiative, the SUBWAY brand encourages franchisees to create Eco-Restaurants when possible. Many, who cannot rebuild their restaurants, are incorporating green elements into their stores, such as low flow faucets and toilets, energy-saving appliances, motion sensor lights, and recyclable trash cans.

George Estep, franchisee of the newly opened Eco-Restaurant in Kokomo, Indiana, constructed a freestanding drive-thru restaurant entirely from recycled material. Estep’s restaurant also includes a large monitor that displays real time energy usage of the restaurant, which has turned into a customer favorite.

Additionally, two newly renovated rest areas off the Merritt Parkway in North Haven, Connecticut, include a SUBWAY Eco-Restaurant. Among their eco-elements, both operate off of a light harvesting system through solar panels, high efficiency air conditioning, and even have environmentally friendly plants that do not require any water maintenance.

Among the many soon-to-open Eco-Restaurants is the SUBWAY restaurant on the University of California Los Angeles campus, which is located in the newly renovated green student center. The center will feature a walk-able rooftop terrace and garden.

Many more locations have incorporated sustainable elements, such as franchisee Stephen Maycock’s restaurant in Ephraim, Utah, which now includes solar panels to generate electricity.

SUBWAY brand sustainability efforts do not end with Eco-Restaurants, Stewart says. They also include packaging solutions that are functional, operationally efficient, and cost effective. By reducing the amount of packaging, supply chain transportation is cut back, saving fuel costs and reducing mileage and emissions. These reductions are a result of changes such as recyclable cutlery and paper napkins made out of 100 percent recycled material. Other efforts include the shift from plastic menu panels to recyclable paper menus, and the new SUBWAY cards, which use 30 percent recycled plastic.

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