The innovative technology means the shop will cut its carbon emissions by over 750 tonnes per year, the equivalent to 1,500 transatlantic flights. There will even be capacity in the future to heat local homes and community facilities.
The energy centre, developed by Waitrose and energy services company, MITIE, will also generate £150,000 every year for the local economy in the form of new jobs and through the purchasing of the wood chip.
Local schools and interested parties will be able to find out more about the process at the visitor centre, which forms part of the building where the energy centre is housed.
Waitrose East Cowes already has a number of ‘green’ initiatives incorporated into its design such as propane-based refrigeration technology which reduces energy usage by 20%. In addition, it uses ‘sun pipes’ throughout the store to let natural light in until it gets dark and a cold air-retrieval system instead of air-conditioning.
This all forms part of the retailer’s commitment to reducing its absolute carbon footprint by 15% by 2020 - based on its 2010 emission levels and including the creation of new stores.
Andrew Turner, Isle of Wight MP, Andrew Turner, who is performing the opening at the event, said:
“I am very pleased to see the development of this new energy centre. The John Lewis Partnership’s decision to take this course of action in reducing Waitrose East Cowes’ reliance on the national grid, and reducing carbon emissions, is a very positive move.
“The John Lewis Partnership’s commitment to reducing its absolute carbon footprint by 15%, by 2020, is a shining example for other businesses on the Island. We are now yet another step closer to achieving our Eco-Island goals.”
Richard Tudor-Thomas, Branch Manager at Waitrose East Cowes, said:
“We’re delighted to be involved in such an innovative way of powering our store that helps place us at the heart of the community and ensures that we tread as lightly as possible.
“By sourcing our energy from a green and local source, the energy centre not only significantly reduces our carbon footprint and our reliance on the national grid, but allows us to contribute more to the Island community which we serve.”
Cllr George Brown, Isle of Wight Council Cabinet Member responsible for economy and the environment said:
“The council is keen to support sustainable businesses and delighted to have assisted Waitrose in creating this landmark store. Not only has Waitrose brought a high quality store to the Island it has also created hundreds of jobs in a development that is truly sustainable.”
Mike Tivey, Managing Director of MITIE’s Asset Management business, said:
“MITIE’s partnership with Waitrose means the East Cowes store will be the first in the UK to get the vast majority of its energy needs from an independent energy source.
“This will not just have a positive environmental impact, but create jobs and prosperity in the local economy, and is a perfect example of the many benefits decentralised energy can provide our communities with.”