Kingfisher, the international home improvement company, has announced that the recently opened Peterborough Screwfix store will be the first in its estate to be net zero in its energy usage. The news comes as Kingfisher publishes its annual sustainability report, the net zero energy store will generate as much power as it uses and pass surplus energy back to the grid.
The store brings together a powerful combination of solar panels, solar battery storage and an air source heat pump, creating a new and innovative solution to save energy. Other Kingfisher stores and distribution centres have solar panels or air source pumps to provide heating, and plans are being unveiled to install energy storage batteries at the B&Q distribution centre in Swindon. However, the Peterborough store marks the first time Kingfisher has used solar panels or air source pumps together with battery storage to power operations around the clock.
Power is generated by the solar panels during the day, and excess energy is used to charge the batteries which power the store in the evenings. The air source heat pump has replaced gas and electric heating, and together with the solar PV system, heats the store more efficiently. Surplus power goes back to the grid, off-setting the days in winter when the solar PV will be generating less power and grid energy is needed to power the store.
Inspired by these first steps, the Peterborough team is now considering other moves to reduce energy use even further. For example, by using energy metres on-site, Screwfix could see a spike in energy use at the start of the day when people were making their morning coffee. By fitting a hot water tap that uses battery-stored solar power, they hope to eliminate this energy use.
CEO at Screwfix, Graham Bell commented: “We are investing now to cut energy across our own operations, and our long-term aspiration is to match this by helping customers have zero carbon or energy positive homes and businesses too. Our net zero store in Peterborough represents a significant milestone in our ambition to embed sustainability across the business, and help customers to create good, sustainable homes and businesses.”
Kingfisher’s annual sustainability report shows it is making good progress towards its goal to become a net positive business, especially in reducing energy use and cutting carbon emissions.The business has reduced its absolute carbon footprint by 16% since 2010/11 and aims to increase this to 25% by 2020. It purchases 100% of its UK energy from renewable sources, covering both the Screwfix and B&Q businesses, and will have invested over £10 million in on-site renewables by the end of this year.
The sustainability report also reveals that a third (32%) of Kingfisher group sales now come from products that make customers’ homes more sustainable, taking the business closer to its goal of 50% by 2020. For example, as of 2017/18, Kingfisher has switched 91% of all light bulbs to LED, and sales of all LED products exceed £200 million. Meanwhile, the company is also improving water efficiency in various products, such as the new unified range of kitchen taps launched last year that are all low flow.
Head of energy and renewables at Kingfisher, Jeremy Parsons commented: “‘Being able to create a zero energy store is a huge milestone for us. This store has a range of solutions that we have deployed individually across distribution centres and large format stores in the UK and France. Pulling them into one project at Screwfix demonstrates how far we can go towards creating very low carbon stores, and this approach is informing our next phase of investment in energy projects for the near future.”
Head of sustainability at Kingfisher, Caroline Laurie commented: “At Kingfisher, we believe in using
our scale for good – for the good of the environment, the good of our customers, their families and communities. This is at the heart of everything we do, from how we power our stores to the products on our shelves. We have ambitious targets focused on the issues that matter most to our customers and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved so far. We’re not taking our foot off the pedal; there is still much more we want to do in future.”