Retailer opens new energy-efficient supermarket


One of the UK’s top retailers has opened a new store that uses only half the energy and 25 per cent less power of similar-sized stores.

Sainsbury’s new flagship supermarket in Hook, Hampshire, will operate using 100 per cent renewable electricity and will not rely on any fossil fuels.

It will keep aisles at their optimum temperature using a cold aisle retrieval system, which takes any air that may leave the fridges and displaces it to other areas of the store to keep those aisles cooler. Warm air is then taken from the back of its fridges and re-purposed to heat other sections. About two-thirds of the energy consumed will be reused by the cold aisle retrieval system.

The store is also part of a new trial that uses doors on chilled cabinets, keeping cold air in and reducing their energy demands by up to 60 per cent. Further energy savings have been driven by adding lids on frozen food display cabinets, which work in the same way.

Ambient air door curtains will help to reduce the store’s heating requirements and make customers’ experience more comfortable by counteracting naturally occurring drafts.

The roof features over 700 solar panels, which are expected to provide up to 300 megawatt hours (MWh) of energy for the store per year.

100 per cent LED lighting has been installed throughout the store, and on the shop floor sensors will enable it to adapt in response to the level of natural daylight so that energy is not wasted.

Sainsbury’s Hook will contribute to the retailer’s target of becoming water-neutral by 2040 with low-pressure bathroom taps and rainwater harvesting.

The new store will set the standard for future Sainsbury’s Superstores and the retailer will replicate and build on everything that works well from Sainsbury’s Hook in new supermarkets it constructs, as well as retrofitting its existing estate with the technology wherever it can.

“I’m immensely proud of everyone at Sainsbury’s who has helped to deliver what is a ground-breaking new store for us, the learnings from which will be used in future store investments,” Patrick Dunne, Sainsbury’s property director, said. “Sainsbury’s Hook is the culmination of many years of innovation, hard work and progress towards a more sustainable future for our business.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the local community for your support and patience whilst we constructed this store – I hope everyone will agree it was worth the wait, not only for the new offer customers can now enjoy but for the progress in store sustainability it represents.”

Ryan Cox, Sainsbury’s Hook store manager said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed welcoming customers through the doors of our brand-new store and we look forward to getting to know many of them as we become an integral part of the local community.

“This is a really proud moment for Sainsbury’s as we launch a brilliant new supermarket that puts our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment into clear focus while serving and helping customers in Hook.”

Sainsbury’s currently operates with 100 per cent renewable electricity and by the end of 2023 the retailer projects that up to 40 per cent of its electricity will come from new-to-the-planet wind and solar power.

The store will be an active member of Sainsbury’s Food Donation Programme via Neighbourly, which works to reduce the amount of food waste within its operations and redistribute surplus food to those who need it most.

The company has also this month launched a new all-electric delivery service from its Nine Elms London superstore that is now using 12 fully electric delivery vans. The new 100 per cent electric fleet will make over 2000 deliveries each week on average, saving 57 tonnes of carbon annually.

The change is part of the retailers’ transition to operating a fully electric fleet in all its stores by 2035, in line with its decarbonisation goals. The new fleet will also help Sainsbury’s achieve its commitment to becoming Net Zero in its own operations by 2035.

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