Sainsburys in world first for smart technology

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s expects to save 10,000 tonnes of carbon a year with a smart grid technology contract hailed as the world’s first commercial deal of its kind. Sainsbury’s has […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s expects to save 10,000 tonnes of carbon a year with a smart grid technology contract hailed as the world’s first commercial deal of its kind.

Sainsbury’s has had the smart kit fitted to the heating and ventilation systems in 200 of its stores to better manage electricity supply and demand across the entire national grid as well as boosting the company’s energy efficiency.

The systems went live yesterday following a successful trial in three stores in the southeast of England.

The technology is the brainchild of company RLtec and called dynamic demand. It works by managing the power consumption of equipment, responding automatically to second-by-second changes in the balance between supply and demand on the grid.

RLtec says that as a result of dynamic demand, the CO2 producing power stations that are currently held in reserve to perform this balancing service will not be needed as much, so UK emissions can be dramatically reduced.

Sainsbury’s property director Neil Sachdev said: “By introducing this technology, we will cut the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels, reduce our own energy costs and reduce our CO2 emissions.

“As a large retailer, we are able to make a tremendous difference by investing in new technology and rolling it out onto our estate. We are extremely agile as a business so can implement changes quickly by ourselves, rather than waiting for climate change legislation to bring about change. When we find a technology that can work at scale, we immediately set about planning how we can roll that into the rest of our business.

“Our customers trust us to make sure we minimise our environmental impact, so we are constantly working to ensure we meet their expectations.”

RLtec’s managing director Paul Lazarevic said: “Our technology represents a perfect fit for Sainsbury’s ambitions. Simply through a software upgrade to the supermarket’s existing equipment we can help deliver the significant reductions in carbon emissions the company is looking for as part of its broader environmental agenda.

“On a wider scale, the fact that dynamic demand can so easily be fitted to such a huge range of appliances across all sectors, from the domestic to the industrial and commercial makes it a vital tool in our efforts to tackle climate change. With no behavioural change necessary on the part of the consumer or business and no disruption to performance as a result of its installation, it is a simple and effective solution that delivers for customers and the environment alike.”

The initiative has been praised by the Carbon Trust. Its chief executive Tom Delay said: “We are delighted to see RLtec joining forces with Sainsbury’s in the first deal of its kind. There is an urgent need to balance the supply and demand of electricity in a more cost and carbon efficient way. We see RLtec’s technology as playing a crucial role in achieving this.”