MIAMI – Burger King Corp. has announced the construction of a new eco-friendly restaurant design, which is expected to cut its restaurants' energy costs by 45 percent in half while decreasing its CO2 emissions by more than 120 metric tons per year.

In June, Burger King unveiled its prototype at a new store in Waghausel, Germany. Energy-saving enhancements include an electricity-generating wind turbine on the roof; photovoltaic cells; a system that uses wasted heat from machinery to heat water; and LED lighting. It also features a charging station for electric cars.

"Implementing these new green energy systems reduces the environmental impact and is another step in our ongoing commitment,” said Jonathan Fitzpatrick, senior vice president, franchise operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Among Burger King’s new high-efficiency equipment are a charbroiler with variable speeds, which allows different items to be flame-grilled for different times. The change saves energy and allows the chain to offer a wider variety of items, including ribs and oversized burgers. The device also cycles on and off in accordance with use (as do earlier models), instead of burning gas whenever the restaurant is open. Burger King said the new broiler uses 52% less energy than the version it replaced.

As a result of these upgrades, the Southern California Gas Co. recently awarded Burger King a 2010 Energy Efficiency Excellence Award.