ORLANDO-The parent company of Red Lobster restaurants is looking to go green. Locally based Darden Restaurants Inc. has launched a systemwide sustainable design initiative for new locations and remodeling of existing ones where feasible.

Darden, which also owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and other chains, says it will involve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards in its newer restaurants for certification by the US Green Building Council. Eight locations are initially tabbed for LEED status over the next two years, including a newly opened Olive Garden in Jonesboro, AR.

“While we may not seek LEED certification for every restaurant we build or remodel, we can make a positive impact by learning from the eight restaurants where we are seeking LEED certification and applying best practices across our entire portfolio,” says Suk Singh, Darden senior vice president of development. He says the restaurants, which are intended to last up to 30 years, should be built in a sustainable manner from construction and operational standpoints.

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