Call for natural refrigeration incentives

London: The British Retail Consortium has called for stronger economic incentives for supermarkets to adopt natural refrigeration systems in their battle to reduce carbon emissions.

In a report, A Better Retailing Climate: Towards Sustainable Retail, the consoertium says that retailers have achieved reductions of 37% per square metre of floor space in their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2013 (relative to floor space) compared to 2005.

The retail sector is said to be directly responsible for around 3.5% of UK greenhouse gas emissions. Refrigeration accounts for up to 50% of energy costs of supermarkets and is estimated to contribute 15-30% of grocery retailers’ total carbon footprint.

The major source of emissions is leakage of HFC refrigerant gases but the consortium argues that all leading UK grocery retailers have made long term commitments to address the impacts of refrigeration and some have committed to eliminating HFC systems altogether.

A variety of other approaches are being used including improving the efficiency of fridges by installing doors, capturing cold air spillage from open-front refrigeration cases and redistributing it to areas of the store that require cooling, and recovering the reject heat from the refrigeration sytem to heat the aisle space.

The consortium says that stronger economic incentives to adopt natural refrigeration would prompt a faster uptake of these systems. It also calls for common standards for engineer training to ease the training and certification requirements placed on retailers.

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