United Co-op is poised to open its first 'green store' designed to maximise energy efficiency in a bid to drive down the group's energy bills.
A number of initiatives are being implemented at the new-build store in Sandbach, Cheshire, to monitor energy efficiency. They include a refrigeration system in which the central plant is external to the store within a packaged sound acoustic enclosure. The heat generated by the refrigeration system is to be reclaimed and used in the air-conditioning system, reducing the amount of energy used overall.
Other initiatives include energy efficient lighting which can reduce energy use by 20%. Energy meters assigned to equipment and systems will also enable staff to monitor energy performance.
The move is an extension of United Co-op's energy management programme that has so far achieved a reduction of 7,360 tonnes of CO2 emissions since monitoring began in 1997/8. That's the equivalent to annual emissions from more than 736 average homes.
Keith Maloney, general manager for environment & technical services at United Co-op, said: "The energy management programme has reduced utility costs by more than £2.95m a year. We are hoping to boost this figure with the initiatives at Sandbach and will watch the savings generated, with a view to implementing positive results in more stores.
"The model could reduce energy usage by a third."