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Darden Support Center to Install Solar Panel Roofing

Darden Restaurants will soon begin the installation of 1.1 megawatts of solar panel roofing at its Restaurant Support Center (RSC) in Orlando. The project will be the largest private solar array in Florida and it will generate enough power to subsidize 15 to 20 percent of the RSC's annual usage, or the equivalent of taking the campus off the grid for nearly two months.
Upon completion later this year, Darden's rooftop solar installation is expected to produce up to 1.9 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, equaling the average annual energy usage of approximately 163 homes while reducing carbon emissions by more than 1,300 metric tons annually.
"As a company, preserving our resources for future generations has always been a priority," says Drew Madsen, president and chief operating officer of Darden Restaurants. "The decision to install solar panels is just the latest step in our strategy to reduce the energy and water consumption of our business in the communities where we operate."
Opened in September 2009, Darden's RSC facility is the largest building in Florida to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for New Construction (NC). It includes a number of energy-efficiency features, including high-performance windows that let daylight in, but not heat; a U-shaped floor plan that limits western exposures; motion sensors to turn off lights in vacant rooms; and a "daylight harvesting" system that monitors natural light levels and automatically dims artificial lighting as appropriate. It also features several water conservation elements. Through the use of reclaimed water at the RSC, Darden has saved more than 16 million gallons of drinking water in the past year.

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