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Business Green: 'I shop at Waitrose because' it has a biomass-powered energy centre


Installation should cut Bracknell store's emissions by 750 tonnes a year and shrink its reliance on grid gas and electricity

By BusinessGreen staff

Waitrose has opened a biomass-powered energy centre that significantly reduces its Bracknell branch's reliance on the grid.

The new centre, opened yesterday by Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, uses sustainable woodchips sourced from the local area to power, heat and cool the store.

The company claims it should also decrease the store's reliance on grid electricity and gas by 69 per cent and 84 per cent respectively, while adding £150,000 a year to the local economy in the form of jobs and contracts with suppliers.

It is the second biomass system developed as part of a deal between MITIE and Waitrose, which aims to help the retailer's parent company, the John Lewis Partnership, reduce its operational carbon emissions 15 per cent on 2011 levels by 2021. To achieve this goal, the Partnership last year announced it would develop 150 similar centres across the country.

The first energy centre at Waitrose East Cowes came online in March this year and like the Bracknell centre will be operated by MITIE over a 12-year contract.

"In an increasingly volatile energy market this advanced new energy centre reduces Waitrose's reliance on the grid and provides economic and predictably priced energy," said Mike Tivey, managing director of MITIE's asset management business.

"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 on-site energy generation can provide our communities with."

The Bracknell store, which opened in November last year, also features a number of green features including sun tubes to let in natural light, HFC-free refrigeration technology, electric car charging points, and a fully automated building management system.