Technology developed by motor racing engineers is being trialled in 11 local co-operative stores, which could lead to significant reductions in CO2 emissions.
The regional, independent co-operative, Southern Co-op, is currently installing EcoBlades in its fridges across stores in Hampshire, Isle of Wight, West Sussex and Dorset.
The twin-bladed shelf-edge strips, developed by motor racing engineer Wirth Research, uses airflow to reduce cold air being lost into the aisles – the same technique used to direct airflow efficiently around racing cars.
Alongside the refrigeration technology installation, more solar PV (photovoltaic) panels are also being fitted at locations in Gosport, Lee on the Solent and Havant.
Gemma Lacey, Director of Sustainability and Communications, said:
“There has been lots of work going on behind the scenes to reduce our carbon emissions including movement sensors to control lighting in back office areas, energy efficient lighting and new improved doors for refrigeration where suitable.
“Last year we also began a pilot solar panel scheme in four locations which has played a significant part in our efforts to tackle climate change. Overall, we have reduced our total carbon emissions by 25% since 2012.
“Whilst this is all good progress, given the urgent need to accelerate action on climate change, there is a need to go further, faster. Our Climate Action Group is currently developing a pathway to net zero carbon with plans to define specific targets and actions over the coming months.”
The new EcoBlade technology is expected to reduce energy consumption of the refrigeration by up to 25%. It acts as an invisible air curtain keeping warm air out and cool air in.
The system is initially being trialled at 11 Co-operative Food stores including Freshwater’s Afton Road.
Emma McVie, Southern Co-op’s Project Manager, said:
“Our stores are currently split between those that have fridges suitable for doors and those that could benefit from rolling out blade technology to reduce our carbon. If this trial is a success, we could roll out the technology to all 100 of these stores and make a substantial reduction in our carbon emissions.
“Our work on solar panels will also feed into this reduction as the existing sites have already reduced our CO2 emissions by 17 tonnes in year one. Over the 25 year expected lifespan of solar panels this would hopefully lead to a saving of 375 tonnes”.