Leading innovation in energy efficiency and carbon reduction

20 Jun 2014

Rob Redfern, Engineering Project Manager, talks about the cutting edge innovation in our new Wisbech store.

Rob Redfern, Engineering Project Manager, talks about the cutting edge innovation in our new Wisbech store

Wisbech Wisbech Extra

Tesco is an established global leader on energy efficiency and carbon reduction in the retail sector. We have set ourselves ambitious goals of becoming a zero carbon business by 2050, and to halve the emissions from our stores and distribution centres by 2020. To help achieve this, we are continually pushing ourselves to find innovative ways to make our stores as efficient as possible.

When customers visit our brand new store Wisbech Extra store in Cambridgeshire, most will be blissfully unaware that they are shopping in one of the UK’s most advanced and energy efficient supermarkets. The store, which opened in February 2014, incorporates a host of new innovations and efficiency measures such as the UK’s first store-based CO2 refrigeration heat reclaim system.

We know that the carbon emissions from the refrigerant gases we use in our fridges and freezers are a major contributor to our carbon footprint. That’s why we have been at the forefront of moving away from using harmful refrigerant gases and using CO2 refrigeration systems instead. We are taking this technology one step further in our Wisbech store. The heat reclaim system is the latest in a long line of innovations we have introduced to advance the viability of using natural refrigeration. By leading the way on initiatives such as heat reclaim, we are helping to make natural refrigeration systems both more competitive, and more suitable for use in all future applications, not just retail.

Heat exchangersRefridgeration heat exchangers and compressors

As well as the innovative approach to refrigeration, Wisbech also embodies our increasing focus on LED lighting, which is much more energy efficient than conventional lighting. Although LEDs are more expensive than conventional lighting, they use much less electricity and have much lower running costs. That’s why we will be using them to light the interior of all our new Superstore and Extra supermarkets this year.

In Wisbech we have not only made use of LEDs for internal lighting, but for all of the store’s external lighting too, such as in the car park. To help further improve the energy efficiency of the store, rows of roof lights allow daylight to reach the shop floor and reduce the need for additional artificial lighting in the daytime.

By incorporating energy efficient solutions, such as the refrigeration heat reclaim system and LED lighting, we expect Wisbech to emit far less carbon than a standard Extra store and we are already seeing great results. After four weeks of being open, the store was on track to emit 15% less carbon than a standard store.

As impressive as the carbon savings and efficiency gains are, what is also outstanding about Wisbech is that we were able to build the store at no extra cost compared to a standard store of this size. In fact the capital cost of the new technologies is 3% less than for a standard store. This is a great example of how our work to reduce our impact on the environment is not only good for the world but for our business too.