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Supermarkets take on the energy saving challenge

Supermarkets are perfect for testing energy efficiency. If you consider the amount of nationwide stores with multiple distribution centres and so on, there is plenty of room to save money and reduce the carbon footprint. If this giant industry could become sustainable not only would it be a huge achievement for the UK but also it would be an amazing example to other businesses. Hopefully everyone will jump on the bandwagon.

Housing Energy Advisor investigates the possibilities…

What is the damage?

The worst of the supermarkets in the UK is Morrisons who walk their way through a carbon footprint of 1, 417, 376 tonnes of CO2e, 35,000 tonnes of waste is sent to the landfill with only 82% of store waste being recycled. If you compare this with the Co-operative who have achieved a 35% reduction in their emissions, it is quite astonishing. The Co-op almost has no reliance on carbon energy production and is investing in their own green energy production.

Good energy efficiency practice by supermarkets

The Co-op:

As we have already mentioned above, the Co-operative is leading by example when it comes to energy efficiency. 98% of their electricity comes from wind and hydro technologies and their refrigerator gas emissions are down by 58%. They have even tried to clamp down on their transport emissions, getting it down by 16%.


As of July, 2013, Sainsbury’s installed 100,000 solar panels across 210 of tis stores in the UK. The company has claimed that this new installation will save them an estimated 9, 785 tonnes per year. Along with the 35 football pitches worth of solar panelling, Sainsbury’s has made use of heat pumps, biomass boiler systems and is entering into agreements with wind farms and anaerobic digestion plants. They have serious hopes to RESET the button on their energy use, with aims to reduce carbon emissions by 30%.


European bigwigs Aldi and Lidl are also gearing up to make a difference. Lidl has invested in a huge revamp of their refrigeration systems that will have a huge impact on their energy efficiency. Aldi hasn’t made any firm choices about what direction to take, but is currently undergoing an assessment process to find where they can make their biggest savings.

What is the best way for supermarkets to save?

Waste and recycling:

The value of food packaging is at around £6.9billion according to a recent study by WRAP. There is a huge opportunity here for stores to save money and for those savvy-tech know-how types to cash in on a gap in the market. You never know, prices may go down too!

LED lighting:

LED is going through a craze at the moment and LED is everywhere. The energy savings of LED are phenomenal and the length that they last in comparison to their fluorescent or incandescent counterparts in incomparable.

The cream of the crop

There is always a business that is leading the way in energy efficiency and REMA 1000, a Scandanavian, multinational no-frills supermarket is doing just that. They use deep geothermal energy, recycled fridge heat, use natural light and even make use of melting snow. Obviously the UK wouldn’t be able to do much with snow per se, but what if we could maximise on the rain!?!

Supermarkets are in a position to really educate the public about energy savings and waste and are in a place where they can lead by example. If you think about it, people generally visit the supermarket at least once a week and the smaller express stores every other day. With this type of contact, supermarkets seem to be the best way to get the message across about energy efficiency and sustainability. Tesco has already begun to give consumers information by issuing a carbon label on each product explaining the environmental impact of that product.

What good examples have you seen in supermarkets in your area? Do you choose to go to a specific store just because it has better values than another store? Has this blog inspired you to look out for more energy efficient signs in your everyday life?

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