Waitrose opens its lowest carbon store yet

Waitrose opens its lowest carbon store yet

At the end of November, Waitrose opened its greenest shop yet, in Bracknell, Berkshire. The 25,000 sqft (2322.576 m2) store Waitrose opens its lowest carbon store yetincorporates pioneering new features that reduce carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions by 80%. The store features natural refrigeration with hydrocarbons and is also the first to trial innovative biodiversity features such as a ‘green’ roof and bug hotel.

The Bracknell opening follows hot on the heels of Waitrose Stratford City, which has been recently submitted as the first BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) retail “Outstanding” property in the world, and is currently pending certification.

Propane based refrigeration

Waitrose is the first supermarket to develop propane based, HFC-free refrigeration technology, which has been installed in the shop to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by 20%. Other sustainable aspects of the refrigeration system include:

  • Cold air spillage from open-front fridges is captured and redistributed to areas that need cooling.
  • Heat produced from the refrigeration cooling cycle is used to heat the aisle space.
  • Doors on freezers and night blinds on fridges to minimise energy usage.

Additional sustainable features

  • Lighting: It is the first Waitrose store to use automatic presence control lighting. ‘Sun tubes’ that act like a mini skylight will let natural daylight into the shop floor and customer toilets.
  • EV charging points: It is one of the first Waitrose shops to introduce electric vehicle (EV) charging points in the car park for customers to use whilst carrying out their shopping.
  • Energy usage: LED lights used in fridges, in cold rooms and on illuminated signs to reduce energy consumption. A fully automated Building Energy Management System links to a 24-hour monitoring bureau, which reacts to energy over-usage. Fans on the shop floor are linked to CO2 sensors so that they deliver the correct quality of air at any one time.
  • Energy Centre: Waitrose Bracknell will also be one of two Waitrose shops to have its own on-site energy centre, which will reduce CO2e emissions by almost 800 tonnes a year. Burning locally sourced wood chip, coppiced from Forestry Commission standard sustainable woodlands, the centre will provide the branch with all of its heating, cooling and electricity needs, in addition to producing surplus power of around 150 Mwh, which will be fed back into the national grid.
  • Food waste: All unavoidable food waste will be sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) where it will be converted into renewable energy, which will go back into the national grid.
  • Responsible development: 99% of construction waste from the build has been diverted from landfill. Recycled materials have been used extensively throughout the building.
  • Water reduction: Customer and Partner toilets use technology including waterless urinals, reduced flush cisterns and low consumption sinks. A site boundary water meter will help the retailer monitor the amount of water the shop is using.
  • Community: £12,000 (€26,400) a year will be donated to local charities and good causes via Community Matters. The store also features a community room and recycling facilities for the local community to use, including water filter, carrier bag and battery recycling.

BREEAM accreditation pending

Waitrose is confident that its new Bracknell store will also achieve a BREEAM “Outstanding” accreditation in the coming months.

Biodiversity and ecology

The new store will be the first Waitrose to showcase a host of biodiversity features, such as a ‘green’ roof covered with wild grass to improve drainage and provide an area for wildlife. There is also a ‘living’ wall to promote wildlife movement around the site, hedges instead of conventional fencing and nest boxes for bats and swifts; and a ‘bug hotel’ situated in the car park to provide a safe haven for hibernating insects. The hotel is the size of a telephone box with individual ‘rooms’ inside designed to encourage different insects.

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