Woolworths is now using energy far more efficiently than it did in 2004. Woolworths relative electricity usage now stands at 268.9 kilowatt hours, per metre square of trading space, per day. This is a 10% decrease from relative electricity usage in 2004 – our benchmark year. The business has received industry recognition for this achievement as well as the ongoing commitment to conserve energy. The major innovations driving this saving include remote monitoring of lighting and air-conditioning, automated energy systems, installation of energy efficient lighting and refrigeration plants and waste heat recycling. Woolworths has targeted a 30% reduction in both relative energy and carbon emissions by 2012. In recognition of these initiatives, Woolworths received the National Business Initiative (NBI) special award for top performance in energy efficiency in November 2008. The award aims to raise awareness about energy conservation to ensure that South Africa’s economic growth is supported by the availability of energy sources. The NBI award is contested by signatories of the Energy Efficiency Accord, a voluntary programme between business and the Department of Minerals and Energy in support of South Africa’s national energy efficiency strategy. The accord has 44 signatories – including top business leaders and associations. The award was presented at the annual ETA (Greek symbol for efficiency) Awards held recently in Johannesburg. The ETA awards are convened annually by Eskom and the Department of Minerals and Energy, to reward proven application of sound energy efficiency principles in the commercial, industrial, residential, agricultural and education sectors. The NBI award is included in proceedings in recognition of the value of the Energy Efficiency Accord. Commenting on the win Les Hall, Engineering Manager for Real Estate at Woolworths says, “We’re very pleased with the recognition. We salute all the companies who are equally concerned about the responsible use of energy. Conserving energy should be a high priority for all South Africans. Both our economy and the environment will be best served by our collective efforts to use energy more efficiently.” Valerie Geen, Director of the Sustainable Futures unit of the NBI says, “Woolworths is to be congratulated for excelling in its performance both in energy efficiency and reducing its carbon footprint. The holistic and strategic approach with real practical implementation driven through the Good business journey is a commendable example of best practice. It also provides opportunities to influence consumer behavior in taking climate change seriously”. The entries were assessed by a panel of independent engineering and energy experts. Ends. Editors notes Carbon Disclosure Leadership Award On 19 November, Woolworths was also named as having “outstanding” climate change-related disclosure practices, heading the JSE’s Top 100 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index in the low-carbon sector. The award was presented by Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk. The assessment was based on the quality of information disclosed by companies in response to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The initiative also seeks to highlight the importance of monitoring and addressing carbon output in the private sector. In his address to over 200 people representing the various companies Minister van Schalkwyk complimented businesses who participated in the project. He said they would be better prepared for mandatory reporting which government planned to implement in the foreseeable future. What Woolworths is doing to save energy? The energy saving initiatives are part of the Good business journey, a multifaceted plan that incorporates a series of challenging targets and commitments, centred on four key priorities: accelerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing our environmental focus, and addressing climate change. Woolworths energy saving efforts include: Lighting and air conditioning systems – All light fittings in Western and Eastern Cape stores have been changed to energy efficient fittings. Woolworths is currently rolling this programme out in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng; – Woolworths only uses electronic ballasts, in place of magnetic chokes in stores, depots and offices, resulting in a 15% saving in lighting costs; – The electrical profiles of selected stores, depots and offices are monitored remotely to ensure that lighting and air-conditioning units are managed in the most efficient way; – Automated lighting switching equipment has been installed in our top 20 stores to ensure that lights do not remain on after hours; – Woolworths has conducted awareness programmes, campaigns and presentations at stores for the last 25 years to educate staff about efficient use of energy; – Woolworths was amongst the first retailers to sell energy efficient light bulbs in South Africa and no longer stocks incandescent light bulbs. Refrigeration – None of Woolworths stand alone food stores have air-conditioning, except in KwaZulu-Natal where the air-conditioning is required to control humidity; – Energy efficient refrigeration plants installed in stores and depots over recent years have reduced the power consumed by refrigeration by up to 40%; – Frozen foods are displayed in closed refrigeration cabinets – this has been the practice for over a decade, reducing energy usage in the freezers; – Waste heat, recycled from the refrigeration system, is pumped back in to the food market (“free heating”) helping to maintain comfortable trading conditions. Building design Woolworths considers the following energy saving measures when considering new real estate opportunities – – Natural ventilation including openable windows to offices and cross ventilation; – Use of natural light; – Energy efficient lighting and the use of a Building Management System for light switching; – Solar powered water heating; – Re-use of heat generated by plant and machinery to heat buildings in cold periods of the year. Woolworths award winning Midrand Distribution Centre An illustration of Woolworths commitment to sustainability at every level of the business is the Woolworths Midrand distribution centre, one of the largest single structures in the southern hemisphere. Every aspect of the design and construction of the 78 000m² facility has been subject to scrutiny from a social and environmental perspective, ensuring that Woolworths minimises the impact on the surrounding environment and communities. In an effort to reduce the use of electricity at the DC, some of measures utilised are: – The use of natural light in the building; – Intelligent light fittings in offices capable of dimming to adjust to ambient natural light and switching off when people leave the space; – The use of recycled heat – heat recovered from refrigeration plant is used in the underfloor heating system; – Solar thermal hot water production for ablution facilities; – The use of elevated flood lights results in a significant reduction in the number of luminaries required; – Using evaporative cooling technologies for the refrigeration plants resulting in the greatest energy saving.