Top 10 LEED Certified Restaurants (2018)

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, also known as LEED, is a designation created by the U.S. Green Building Council based on a composite score of four categories. For restaurants to earn LEED certification, the facility must score at least 40 out of 110 points, with special designations of Silver, Gold, and Platinum being applied as point totals increase. Many restaurants have started to incorporate LEED certified hand dryers, rainwater recycling, and a eco-friendly utensils and paper products. Here, we’ll take a look at the top 10 LEED Certified restaurants in 2018.

  1. Founding Farmers – Washington, D.C.

 Founding Famers is community-owned by over 40,000 family farmers who also supply the resultant with most of its food. This sustainable restaurant has been hailed as the greenest restaurant in Washington, D.C. The Pennsylvania Avenue location earned Gold LEED certification status in 2008 and continues to lead the way in sustainable restaurants in the area.

  1. Ted’s Montana Grill – Multiple Locations

 Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Ted’s Montana Grill is one of the top LEED-certified restaurant chains in the nation. The restaurant chain’s motto is ‘Eat great, do good,” and this is embodied in everything they do. Ted’s Montana Grill emphasizes water conservation, energy efficiency, and a host of other sustainability efforts. All locations have LED lighting, recyclable utensils, and solar power.

  1. Providence – Los Angeles, CA

Ranked as one of the top 50 restaurants in the United States by Gourmet magazine, Providence has been committed to sustainability for over a decade with its focus on sustainable cuisine as well as LEED-certified building efforts. Providence’s head chef has even been quoted as saying, “First and foremost, what guides us here is sustainability.”

  1. Pizza by Certé – New York, NY

A classic New York pizzeria, Pizza by Certé is certified as a 3-star green restraint and earned Gold level LEED certification. All of the restaurant’s utensils, plates, paper goods, and pizza boxes are made from recycled materials, and rain water is used for all non-consumption tasks. In addition, all Pizza by Certé deliveries are made in hybrid vehicles or on foot.

  1. Chipotle – Gurnee, IL

It might seem unconventional for a fast food chain to seek LEED certification but the Chipotle located in Gurnee, IL, did just that. This location was the first Chipotle franchise to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s top green rating under a pilot program focused on new energy and environmental design standards. The restaurant gets power from a wind turbine and rainwater is harvested in a 2,500-gallon underground reservoir. This chain has proved that the fast food industry can build LEED Certified restaurants.

  1. Urbane – Seattle, WA

Standing out as the first LEED-certified hotel in Seattle, Urbane sources food from local farmers and partners with other companies to compost waste. In addition, all water used in the restaurant is triple-filtered city water that is stored in recycled and reusable glass bottles, thus eliminating the need for environment-damaging plastic bottles.

  1. MEZ – Durham, NC

Earning the Foundation for a Sustainable Community’s Business Of The Year title in 2007 and a Green Plus Business certification from the same organization, MEZ Contemporary Mexican has always demonstrated a commitment to community responsibility. MEZ has the distinction of being North Carolina’s first LEED-certified restaurant and has set the tone for other area restaurants.

  1. Applebee’s – Harlem, NY

Known as New York City’s first Gold LEED-certified restaurant, the Applebee’s in Harlem has been open since 2012 and features more than 40 eco-conscious design elements. Among these are a stunning living wall and waterless urinals in men’s restrooms. Franchise owner Zane Tankel stated that the primary goal of pursuing LEED certification was to “save the planet.”

  1. In-N-Out Burger – Multiple Locations throughout the Southwestern U.S.

Southern California-based In-N-Out Burger has made great strides in going green. All locations throughout have reusable trays and a significant portion of production waste is recycled. In fact, the company was able to achieve a 99% solid waste conversion rate in building a new Southern California location. The City of Woodland Public Works Department even gave the restaurant an official commendation for its sustainability efforts.

  1. Mixt Greens – San Francisco, CA

Another California-based LEED Certified restaurant, Mixt Greens prides itself on offering eco-gourmet to its diners. Each location is designed with efficient lighting and strategic planning that utilizes natural light to save on heating and cooling cost and consumption. Even the paint used on the walls environmentally friendly since it doesn’t emit harmful chemicals.

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