John Lewis targets biomass for 129 stores

John Lewis is to test biomass technology at its Waitrose store on the Isle of Wight. If successful, the combined heat and cooling system will be rolled out across 14 […]

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By Kelvin Ross

John Lewis is to test biomass technology at its Waitrose store on the Isle of Wight.

If successful, the combined heat and cooling system will be rolled out across 14 John Lewis stores and 115 Waitrose branches – an unprecedented use of biomass in the retail sector.

“This will allow us to cut carbon emissions by up to 60% at every store where we install a plant”, said Steve Isaia, head of engineering at the John Lewis Partnership. “We are reviewing all our store portfolio to see where it will be possible to install the plants.”

The wood chip-fired biomass plant on the Isle of Wight will generate enough energy to meet the store’s electricity and heat demand, and surplus warmth would provide all heating and hot water for homes being built nearby.

In two other Waitrose branches, Wallingford and Monmouth, a novel way of detecting refrigeration leaks is being trialled – the addition of cherry Bakewell scent to hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs) in fridges to help ‘sniff out’ leaks. If this trial proves successful it will be rolled out to more shops in future to help ensure leaks are kept to an absolute minimum while Waitrose works through its shops phasing out the use of HFCs.

To date, Waitrose has cut average C02 emissions from direct refrigeration and cooling from 453 tonnes per shop to 336 tonnes.