Indications are that the energy saving refrigeration, currently being trialled by Woolworths, will cut the amount of electricity used by store refrigeration by at least 30%. Refrigeration is one of the key consumers of energy for food retailers. The performance and efficiency of a refrigeration system is affected by many factors including drafts in the store, the packing of the cabinets, ambient temperatures and humidity. Woolworths is trialling a highly advanced refrigeration control system which continuously monitors all these variables and adjusts the operating parameters accordingly. This ensures a highly efficient refrigeration system which saves energy. This improved refrigeration system will be rolled out to all Woolworths stores, beginning in the Western Cape and Gauteng. The project is a collaborative effort between Woolworths and refrigeration specialists Mainstream Refrigeration. For the past two decades, Mainstream Refrigeration has worked closely with Woolworths to develop, design and install refrigeration plants which are energy efficient without compromising Woolworths highly demanding cold chain requirements – a carefully managed system which ensures that Woolworths products are kept at optimum temperatures to achieve the highest standards of quality and freshness. “Woolworths has made it a priority to reduce its impact on the environment. This pilot is the latest in a long line of energy saving refrigeration efforts to debut in Woolworths stores. For instance, nearly two decades ago, Woolworths was the first major local retailer to reclaim waste heat from refrigeration compressors to warm the aisles in stores” says Alex Kuzma, Engineering Manager for Woolworths Real Estate Development. Commenting on the project Richard Drinkrow, Chief executive officer of Mainstream Refrigeration says “Woolworths is extremely committed to energy efficient refrigeration. This drive has helped us engineer a number of pioneering techniques, which have now become standard practise for the retail industry”. Addressing climate change is a key pillar of Woolworths Good business journey strategy – an ongoing plan to make a difference in our communities, our country and our world. Part of this plan is a commitment to reduce Woolworths relative carbon footprint by 30% by 2012. This will be achieved in part through far reaching energy efficiencies. Ends. Editor’s notes Why does Woolworths have open fridges? Woolworths open fridges serve two purposes: they keep the chilled products stored in the fridges at optimum temperatures. The cooler ambient air eminating from the fridges also keeps the produce stored near the fridges at a cooler, more optimum temperature. The Good business journey Woolworths was named international responsible retailer of the year at the 2008 World Retail Awards in recognition of our Good business journey. The Good business journey plan incorporates a series of challenging targets and commitments centred on four key priorities: accelerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing Woolworths environmental focus, and addressing climate change. It is a 5 year plan which sets targets to 2012. Woolworths has used the phrase the ‘Good business journey’ because this truly is a journey and there are no easy solutions.