The climate protection debate in retail is particularly determined by the buzzword ”sustainability“. Cutting costs and increasing cost effectiveness at the same time are also vitally important for successful management in the food trade. Even though the topic of sustainability is playing an important role for most operating companies, one particularly important factor is still being neglected in many supermarkets and chain stores: the energy use of cooling systems and refrigeration equipment.
Yet there are often immense savings potentials in cooling technology. After all, cooling systems are one of the biggest “energy hogs” in the food trade. Between 40 and 60 percent of the overall power consumption are allotted just for this equipment. A big portion of their power demand can be reduced with relatively simple measures. Now there are new, energy-saving cooling units and cooling technologies available that amortize quickly.
Climate protection and efficiency have to be linked together
According to information by the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection, energy costs of cooling systems and refrigeration units are generally higher than the original investment costs. This also applies to the purchase of new equipment: careful planning of the new cooling technology solution can significantly reduce energy consumption and thus also energy costs. Especially against the background of continuously increasing energy prices, retailers should consider investing more than before in energy-efficient solutions not just for environmental, but also for economic reasons
Retail wants to become more eco-friendly
Now, the willingness to invest is higher than ever: according to the latest research, up to 95 percent of German retailers want to tackle several energy projects within the next one to two years. The focus in non-food retail is on lighting and in the food trade also on cooling systems, since these areas can achieve the largest reduction in costs.
Energy-efficiency and emission reduction is not just an issue for the large retail chains: medium-sized retailers in particular are planning investments. More often than with the large chains, heating and air conditioning systems and also cooling units are technically outdated and use up to 30 percent more energy than modern equipment.
Opportunities to save energy are for instance:
• Exchange of outdated cooling and heating systems
• Installation of heat pumps to utilize waste heat
• Optimizing building insulation
• Structural alterations for improved use of natural light
• Light control for outdoor installations
• Implementation of a comprehensive energy management system to control all energy consumers in the building
An overall concept that considers all or at least several factors promises the most success in this case. How this works can be seen in the Aldi Süd example: the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE along with a planning team and manufacturers designed a holistic concept that is already being tested in an Aldi pilot market. ”In doing so, we were able to reduce energy consumption by 25 percent compared to a traditional supermarket", says Nicolas Réhault, Team Leader at the ISE, in a current EuroShop.de interview.