Budgens Bow is slashing its energy bills with a cutting edge heat reclaim system. Dee Vaidya explains how it’s done

London mayor Boris Johnson would do well to drop in to Dee Vaidya’s Budgens store when he’s next in the borough of Bow. The bustling 2,700sq ft store, one of four owned by Dee, is the perfect embodiment of Johnson’s ambitious eco plan to combat ‘urban heat islands’, thanks to its latest investment: a cutting-edge heat-exchange system.

The radical new system, designed by Secker & Sons and Total Heat Recovery, harnesses waste heat energy created by the store’s refrigeration plant to not only heat the entire store, but also provide all of its considerable hot water needs.

And unlike other systems on the market, the hot water produced is food safe, so can be used for washing and cleaning as well as food and drink preparation, a real boon considering Dee’s busy food-to-go counter.

“We’ve got a large student population here so demand for food- and drink-to-go, as well as deli items, is huge,” explains Dee. Luckily for him, the new system provides the store with more than 120ltr of food grade standard hot water per hour.

The facts
● The heat recovery system can provide 45KW per hour to heat the store, without input from any other fuel source

● The same heat recovery system provides the bakery and deli with more than 120ltr of hot water per hour

● The store operates for 16 hours a day and at maximum recovery periods can save more than 800KW of energy a day - equivalent to more than 300 household kettles running continuously for 16 hours

● The store now boasts a reduction in its carbon footprint of 43 tonnes a year

● This store now has no heating bills. And it is estimated that the payback period should take less than three years.

● After three years Dee will save at least £8,000 a year, or more if energy prices continue to rise.

“Prior to the installation, hot air from my chillers was just being wasted pumped out into the street by expensive to operate and noisy fans. The hot air made it unpleasantly hot outside the store in the summer, and quite dangerous in the winter as it sometimes created black ice,” Dee explains.

“While all this waste heat was being expelled, I was racking up large bills as my old electric and gas boilers struggled to heat the store and provide all my hot water needs,” he adds.

Other forms of heating, such as heat pumps, were considered. Although cheaper to install than the heat recovery system, they would still have required expensive electric power.

“We had new energy efficient chillers fitted during our last store refit in 2010, but with the cost of energy rising all the time I knew we had to do something to keep bills in check, particularly as I had 50% more refrigeration put in,” Dee explains.

“I’m really pleased with the results. The chillers are on all day and night for no extra cost, and maintenance is also low,” he adds.

Dee hopes to see a return on his investment in less than three years, after which time he expects to save about £8,000 a year or more as the cost of energy continues to rise.

“In addition to the vast savings on my energy bills, I’ll also have a green advantage over my competitors, and peace of mind that I’ll be protected from further fuel price hikes and government climate-related taxes,” he says.

The store can now boast a reduction in its carbon footprint of 43 tonnes a year, 19 tonnes of which can be attributed to the 750,000 litres of hot water that are now freely available.

“Installing something like this doesn’t come cheap, but I believe that if you’re serious about your business then sometimes you have to bite the bullet if you want to secure its future.”