U.K. Supermarket Sainsbury’s Opens Two Triple Zero Stores

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Sainsbury’s, one of the U.K.’s leading supermarkets, has recently opened two new “triple zero” stores, where it produces zero carbon emissions from all on site energy used, sends zero waste to landfill and has zero impact on the water usage of the local catchment area because of its water-neutral status. This giant retailer aims to be the U.K.’s greenest grocer, reducing its operational carbon emissions by 30 percent.

The company, founded in 1869, today operates over 1,106 supermarkets and convenience stores, and employs around 157,000 people. Its new “triple zero” stores are examples of how it is achieving its eco mission, where 100 percent of each store’s electricity and heat will be provided by an on site generator, meaning all operational energy used will be zero carbon. The combined heat and power system will use natural gas from the national gas grid, while the rest of the store’s energy needs will be met through biogas, imported from one of the retailer’s dairy farmer’s anaerobic digestion facilities in West Sussex, creating a closed loop.

Plus, like all other Sainsbury’s stores, none of its waste goes to landfill. Instead, here at these particular outlets, all surplus food is either donated to local charities or made into animal feed. When it’s not fit for consumption, it will feed the anaerobic digester and become biogas. Sainsbury’s says that all other waste, including 100 percent of the waste produced during these buildings’ construction, is being reused or recycled.

The water required for these water-neutral stores will be met through water-efficient measures; 70 per cent of the water demand will come from rainwater harvesting while the remaining 30 per cent, which is potable water for food preparation, will be offset by sponsoring water-saving initiatives at a partner site in the local community. Sainsbury’s will also endeavour to reduce its annual water bill. In a year this approach will save enough water to meet the average needs of around 50 homes.

These new stores’ eco-friendly innovations include a natural CO2 refrigeration to run the chillers and freezers, reducing the carbon footprint by 33 percent; LED lighting which will save enough energy for 13 million cups of tea each year; over 120 prismatic roof lights to maximise natural light that will save enough electricity to light more than 95 homes; a Bee Hotel (nesting site); a Bee Café (bee-friendly plants); a complete recycling centre for customers to recycle packaging and donate clothing and other items to Oxfam and over 1,200 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, generating enough electricity to power over 200 TVs,  24/7 for a whole year. It looks as if Sainsbury's comprehensive approach to environmental stewardship and eliminating waste could distinguish it from rivals such as Waitrose and Tesco, putting it streets ahead. However, most importantly, this sustainable drive will also help the company make big savings on its own energy demands, which is itself a big part of its own energy bill.

Photo Credit: Sainsbury's Website

Comments

Considering consumers are often quoted as the weak link in the sustainability chain, as they allegedly only care about price and if the product works or not, it is a little surprising yet heartening to see the retail industry taking such an agressive leadership position.

It will be interesting to watch the natural competitiveness of this particular sector unfold, especially between Sainbury's as 'underdog' and Marks & Spencer as the earlier pioneer. 

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