At a Glance


Food Services

Project Type

Commercial Energy Efficiency





Savings icon

Annual kWh Savings:

24,200,000 kWh

Reductions icon

Annual CO2 Reductions:

15,000 metric tons


Chunhui Yang helped McDonald’s reduce energy use across its China operations by conducting onsite energy audits and begin the verification process for VFD Ventilation Control and Freezer Heat Recovery systems through onsite tests and data analysis.


Restaurant franchise giant, McDonald’s, enlisted EDF Climate Corps fellow Chunhui Yang to help achieve its goal of reducing energy use 20% by 2020 in its China operations. In response to China’s recent announcement to launch its national carbon trading market in 2017, the leading multinational corporation saw the need to be proactive. But, a web of national and local environmental policies and restrictions made this a challenge. 


Chunhui began by examining data collected through Energy Management System (EMS) and conducting onsite energy audits to determine the actual energy savings from: LED Retrofits, VFD Ventilation Control System and Freezer Heat Recovery System upgrade. Based off his findings from data and financial analysis, he recommended scaling up the VFD Control System first and the Freezer Heat Recovery System later.

To confirm the opportunity to reduce energy waste in all franchise kitchens, Chunhui researched Capture Jet Technology. He then evaluated the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of installing solar PV and outdoor LED control systems to save more energy in free-standing and drive-thru restaurants, which expand across large spaces.

In alignment with China’s policy of launching the national carbon market in 2017, Chunhui introduced the concepts and optimized practices of carbon trading to McDonalds’ and drafted an “Energy Management Strategy Plan by 2020” to help McDonalds prepare proactively in the carbon market. 

Potential Impact

When scaled to as subset of restaurants, Chunhui’s recommendations could save McDonald’s 24,200,000 kWh of electricity annually, equivalent to 14,780 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. With its vast presence and rapid expansion in China, there is huge potential for McDonald’s to scale Chunhui’s recommendations across the country, potentially saving tens of millions dollars each year.

Related Links