Co-operative supermarkets to be HFC-free by 2030

Co-operative supermarkets to be HFC-free by 2030

UK’s fifth biggest food retailer, the Co-operative Group, is set to reduce its gross greenhouse gas emissions from operations by 35% by 2017. To achieve this target, the retailer intends to use hydrocarbons and other natural refrigerants in all its stores by 2030.

The approach to climate change for the Co-operative is five-fold, embracing: energy efficiency, support for renewable energy, carbon offsetting, the provision of finance and public policy lobbying.

New installations to be HFC-free from 2015

In addition to the overall target of using only HFC-free working fluids in all stores within the estate by 2030, the retailer is determined to deploy natural refrigerants in all new installations as of 2015. Standalone refrigeration units, including chillers and freezers, using hydrocarbons have already been introduced in 290 stores. Moreover, the retail company plans to intensify the refit initiatives in the near future by:

  • Deploying hydrocarbons in all new standalone units
  • Installing three new carbon dioxide refrigeration systems
  • Trialling of hydrocarbon air conditioning systems in two stores, which, if successful, when combined with new in-store refrigeration systems, will allow stores to be wholly or partially HFC-free.

As air conditioning systems are replaced, it is preferred that the new installations are based on hydrocarbons or ammonia. During 2010, 20 air-conditioning units using hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) or hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were replaced with hydrocarbon systems that resulted in a considerable reduction of CO2 emissions.

New head office to use natural refrigerants

The Co-operative’s new headquarter building in Manchester that is expected to be completed in 2012 will use natural refrigerants in all systems. The design of the building has been accredited to the BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) ‘outstanding rating’, which is the highest ranking. The building is currently under construction and has other resource-efficient features:

  • An on-site combined heat and power plant fuelled by plant-oil, providing the majority of the energy requirements for the new building
  • Glass facades and building orientation to maximise natural lighting
  • A double-skin façade that controls heat loss and heat gain combined with automated and efficient lighting and ventilation systems that increase energy efficiency
  • The harvesting and re-use of grey water generated on site
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