This week Waitrose will open its greenest shop yet, close to its head office in Bracknell, Berkshire. The 25,000sqft store which opens on Thursday will incorporate pioneering new features to benefit the environment and reduce carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions by around 80 per cent1.
Biodiversity and ecology
It will be the first Waitrose to showcase a host of biodiversity features, building on the retailer’s efforts to conserve and enhance the natural environment.
Waitrose recognises the retail site on Bond Way as an important habitat and its new shop features a ‘green’ roof covered with wild grass to improve drainage and provide an area for wildlife. There is a ‘living’ wall to promote wildlife movement around the site, hedges instead of conventional fencing and nest boxes for bats and swifts.
There’s even a ‘bug hotel’ situated in the car park, constructed with the help of local primary school pupils to provide a safe haven for hibernating insects. The hotel is the size of a telephone box with individual ‘rooms’ inside designed to encourage different insects.
From next year, as part of its Responsible Development programme, all new Waitrose shops and major refurbishments will incorporate a biodiversity action plan.
Waitrose already recognises the importance of biodiversity through its work with LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and the WildCare stewardship schemes in place on all of its UK dairy farms.
On-site energy centre
Waitrose Bracknell will also be one of two Waitrose shops to have its own on-site energy centre2 which will reduce CO2e emissions by almost 800 tonnes a year. Burning locally sourced wood chip, coppiced from Forestry Commission standard sustainable woodlands, the centre will provide the branch with all of its heating, cooling and electricity needs, in addition to producing surplus power of around 150,000 kwh which will be fed back into the national grid.
The Bracknell opening follows hot on the heels of Waitrose Stratford City, which has been recently submitted as the first BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) retail “Outstanding” property in the world, and is currently pending certification. This is in part helped by the inclusion of an independent energy centre within the Westfield Stratford City shopping development, which powers the branch. Waitrose is confident that its new Bracknell store will also achieve a BREEAM “Outstanding” accreditation in the coming months.
The retailer wants more of its stores to operate off-grid and plans to roll out on-site energy centres to future builds, to help achieve its overall aim of a 15% absolute reduction in operational CO2e emissions by 2020/21.
Nigel Keen, Director of Development at Waitrose says: “Throughout the design and build of our Bracknell shop our three objectives have been community, emissions reduction and biodiversity. As a food retailer, boosting Britain’s biodiversity is important to us; given the vital role that wildlife plays in the pollination of crops.
“Many of the features incorporated into the shop and car park make good business sense as they conserve the environment and help us save money. We’re keen to roll out these new features more widely, particularly the on-site energy centres which offer massive CO2e savings and will reduce the amount we spend on energy in the long-run. We are confident that our Bracknell shop will achieve the BREEAM Outstanding rating - something which we’ll be very proud of it will be one of the first retail buildings in the world to achieve this accolade.”
Helen Barnett, Marketing Manager at Bracknell Regeneration Partnership says: “With the borough containing some 5,000 acres of woodland, it is very appropriate that the new Waitrose store contains so many ecological features. We have been involving and informing the local community about features such as the bug hotel at each stage of the development, which has created real engagement and interest about the shop’s green credentials.”
Furthers details about Waitrose Bracknell
· It is the first Waitrose store to use automatic presence control lighting in the warehouse, Partner (employee) areas and on the shop floor after trading hours, to reduce the shop’s energy usage.
· ‘Sun tubes’ will let natural daylight in to the shop floor and customer toilets. Shaped like a light fitting, they act like a mini skylight until it gets dark or the weather turns bad, when additional lighting comes on to replace the waning natural light.
Helping customers reduce their carbon emissions
· It is one of the first Waitrose shops to introduce electric vehicle (EV) charging points in the car park for customers to use whilst carrying out their shop. EV charging is already available at Waitrose York and is also being installed in the retailer’s Eastbourne, Chichester, Wimborne, Parkstone and Winton branches this week.
· LED lights used in fridges, in cold rooms and on illuminated signs to reduce energy consumption.
· A fully automated Building Energy Management System links to a 24-hour monitoring bureau which reacts to energy over-usage.
· Fans on the shop floor are linked to CO2 sensors so that they deliver the correct quality of air to the number of customer and Partners at any one time.
· Waitrose is the first supermarket to develop propane based, HFC-free refrigeration technology which has been installed in the shop to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by 20%.
· Cold air spillage from open-front fridges is captured and redistributed to areas that need cooling.
· Heat produced from the refrigeration cooling cycle is used to heat the aisle space.
· There are doors on freezers and night blinds on fridges to minimise energy usage
· All unavoidable food waste will be sent to anaerobic digestion (AD) where it will be converted into renewable energy which will go back into the national grid.
· 99% of construction waste from the build has been diverted from landfill.
· Recycled materials have been used extensively throughout the building.
· Customer and Partner toilets use technology including waterless urinals, reduced flush cisterns and low consumption sinks.
· A site boundary water meter will help the retailer monitor the amount of water the shop is using.
· £12,000 a year will be donated to local charities and good causes via Community Matters.
· A community room will be available for local charities and good causes to use free of charge for meetings.
· When the energy centre opens early next year, it will become the first Waitrose shop to have a live graphics display which will engage the local community by informing and educating shoppers about the eco elements at the store.
· Shoppers can choose from a wide range of local products, a number of whom are based within a 10 mile radius of the branch including Stanlake Park Wines and Ascot Ales.
· Recycling facilities for the local community to use, including water filter, carrier bag and battery recycling.
Waitrose has shops across England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands and Waitrose Bracknell is its 270th branch. Reducing its impact on the environment and supporting local communities are important parts of ‘The Waitrose way’, a philosophy which the retailer introduced this year to encompass its attitude to Corporate Social Responsibility. The ‘Waitrose way’ has always been part of the way the supermarket does things each and every day, but is now enshrined in four pillars; Championing British, Treading lightly, Treating people fairly and Living well.
1) When compared to historic energy and refrigerant emissions of equivalent sized branches within the Waitrose portfolio.
2) Waitrose East Cowes on the Isle of Wight is the first Waitrose branch to have its own on-site energy centre, which will be ready for commissioning on 9th December this year. Waitrose Stratford City also takes all of its heating, cooling and power requirements from an on-site energy centre which is owned by the shopping centre. The wood chip used at the Bracknell energy centre will be sustainably sourced from suppliers within a 15 mile radius of the branch, predominantly from Warren Heath in Yateley which is a FSC certified woodland.