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Published: 18/05/2015

Basingstoke Sainsbury’s installs ground source heat pumps

As part of Sainsbury’s aim to become the greenest retailer in Britain by 2020, the supermarket firm has started to install ground source heat pumps in its stores. Sainsbury’s is working with Geoscart and British Gas to install ground source heating in 100 stores in the next few years. Around 30 stores have had the new technology installed so far.

The pioneering technology will make use of heat that would otherwise be wasted, dramatically cutting energy costs. Large supermarkets have a lot of refrigerators that produce heat as part of the chilling process. This heat will be transported to a chamber 200 feet underground via pipes. The heat will be stored underground, insulated by the subsurface rock ready to be pumped back into the store when it’s required. This will reduce store heating bills because less energy will be needed from the National Grid: the stored heat will also be used to heat water.

Paul Crewe, Head of Sustainability, Engineering & Energy at Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re delighted to be leading the way on this groundbreaking technology – helping to reduce energy use and carbon. I hope that with Geoscart’s help we’ll now see more retailers following suit.”

One of the stores that has had the technology installed is the Kempshott store in Basingstoke. Store manager Daryl Copper told the Basingstoke Gazette: “Just like home refrigerators, chillers and freezers in supermarkets produce excess heat.

“The new geo exchange, which is basically a heat chamber installed 200 feet under part of our car park, collects waste heat and stores it away to be used in the colder months.

“We expect 100 per cent of the store’s heating will be provided using the geo exchange.”

“Ultimately, we’re looking at saving around 30 per cent of the store’s energy requirements,” he added.

Sainsbury’s agreed a £200 million ‘Green Loan’ in summer 2014 and it’s using the money to fund various green initiatives including clean energy generation, energy efficiency and water saving projects. Crewe explained the reasoning to Retail Week, saying: “First and foremost [Sainsbury’s] are doing this because it makes the right commercial sense, but secondly it is making an important, positive impact on the environment too.”

Following the GSHP installation at the Kempshott store, Copper said they’ve had a lot of customer feedback with many of them “pleased that [Sainsbury’s is] making this sort of investment with regards to the environment.”