Boots is one of the most recognisable names on the British high street. The company has invested around £10 million in energy-efficiency projects over the past 10 years to improve heating and ventilation and replace outdated lighting.

Alex Gourlay, chief executive of the health and beauty division at Boots, says: ‘Energy use in buildings is by far the largest contributor to our carbon emissions, with our stores being the main users of energy. This is one of the reasons that carbon management forms one of our main strategic corporate social responsibility objectives.’

In 2005 Boots made a public commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from its legacy stores by 30 per cent by 2020, and in January 2010 it was awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for its efforts.

Its first low-carbon trial store opened in Eastbourne in May 2011, and won the Energy-Efficient Refurbishment Award at this year’s Environment and Energy Awards.

The store had previoiusly been damaged by a fire, and the Boots team saw an opportunity to try out some lower-carbon initiatives when it was refurbished, incorporating dozens of measures.

Eastbourne typically has more than 1,800 hours of sunshine a year, and was officially the UK’s sunniest place in 2010. To maximise use of daylight, skylights and sun pipes have been fitted to the roof of the eco-store at Sovereign Retail Park to channel sunlight directly into the store. A lens on the outside of the building captures the diffused daylight and directs it through a second lens into the building for general illumination.
Solar panels have been fitted to the south-facing roof, to generate electricity. This reduces the amount of energy drawn from the mains supply.

Equipped for efficiency

Artificial lighting in the store has been linked to the daylight. Fittings are controlled to take into account the amount of sunlight streaming into the store, ensuring that the illumination of trading areas is maintained at the current specified level of 800 lx. The store’s external signage is lit with LEDs.

A voltage optimisation device is to be fitted to the store’s electrical supply to ensure the voltage is appropriate for the connected load. Savings are made by reducing losses in the connected load and by ensuring equipment is working as efficiently as possible. Energy meters have been fitted to all store sub-circuits to monitor actual consumption. This will be continually monitored.

During the first six months of operation, energy use at the eco-store was cut by 51 per cent, including the savings made through heating, ventilation and cooling upgrades. This represents more than 80 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

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