“Triple Zero” Stores: Sainsbury’s in the UK minimizes footprint of its supermarkets


Sainsbury’s new supermarket is its most environmentally friendly store to date. and has many environmentally friendly features including ‘Triple Zero’ – zero carbon emissions from all operational energy used; zero waste goes to landfill; and the store has zero impact on the water usage of the local catchment area because of its ‘Water Neutral’ status.

One hundred per cent of the store’s electricity and heating will be provided by an onsite generator, meaning all operational energy used will be zero carbon. The combined heat and power system will use natural gas from the national gas grid — the equivalent amount of zero carbon gas will be imported into the network, thus creating a closed loop.

Also, like all Sainsbury’s stores, none of its waste goes to landfill. Any surplus food is donated to local charities or made into animal feed, and when it’s not suitable for consumption it’s used to generate energy through anaerobic digestion. And, all general waste is recycled or turned into fuel.

Additionally, the water required for this ‘Water Neutral’ store will be met through water efficient measures and infrastructure, as well as an offsetting partnership in the local community. This means the total water used within the local catchment area will not increase as a result of this new store. 70% of the water demand will come from rainwater harvesting and other water efficient initiatives. The remaining 30% will be offset by sponsoring water saving initiatives at a partner site in the local community.  In a year this approach will save enough water to meet the average needs of around 50 homes.

The new store’s sustainable features also include: 

  • A timber structural frame, creating a lower carbon footprint than a standard steel frame
  • Natural CO2 refrigeration to run the chillers and freezers, reducing the carbon footprint by 33%
  • Energy efficient LED lighting, saving enough energy for 13 million cups of tea each year
  • Over 120 prismatic roof lights to maximize natural light, which alone will save enough electricity to light more than 95 homes
  • Outside there are electric vehicle charging points
  • A comprehensive recycling center for customers to recycle packaging and donate clothing and other items to Oxfam
  • 100% of the waste produced during the construction of the store has been reused or recycled

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