The Culver's restaurant in West Baraboo, Wis., the chain's first green building effort, has been Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Jon Sandeman, Culver's project architect and LEED project administrator, notes that the restaurant has served as a classroom of sorts, enabling Culver's to study the ROI of each of the design elements and understand which measures may be good to implement system wide. To date, the biggest payoff has come from water conservation strategies, Sandeman says. These include low-flow plumbing fixtures, harvesting rainwater from the roof and minimizing storm water run-off with prairie-planted retention areas.

  • Other green features at the restaurant:
  • Solar panels that supplement the electrical supply and provide shade for the outdoor patio
  • Skylights for increased natural light
  • High-efficiency mechanical systems
  • Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood, recycled and regionally sourced building materials

• Site and rooftop design that reduces the heat island effect