More low-energy stores, less fossil fuels

Colruyt Group is investing heavily in making its stores more energy efficient. By 2030 the majority of our 600 own stores will be low-energy. At the same time, half will be completely free of fossil fuels by then. 

This initiative contributes to our objectives regarding

Published on 04/04/2022

More and more low-energy stores …

Since 2007, all new stores we build are low-energy stores. They have excellent insulation and air tightness qualities, efficient cooling and heating techniques, and consume very little energy in the form of electricity or possibly natural gas. At the same time, since 2017 we have been renovating about 20 older stores every year to save energy, by insulating them, making them more airtight and equipping them with new techniques such as heat recovery. This double effort means that by 2030 no less than 90%  of our 600 stores in Belgium will be a low-energy store.

Façade of Colruyt-store All our new sites are low-energy stores
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new low-energy stores at the end of 2021

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renovations to a low-energy store at the end of 2021

… and fossil fuel-free stores

In most low-energy stores the heat demand is so low that the heat recovery system is sufficient to heat the store and there is no need for conventional natural gas or fuel oil. These fossil fuel-free stores operate  entirely on electricity. This power is 100% green and generated in Belgium, for example by solar panels on the roof of the store itself. In stores where for now we do still need gas, we work with energy-efficient high efficiency boilers. Our ambition is for half of our stores to be fossil fuel free by 2030.

Bevestigen van zonnepanelen op winkeldak. Zonnepanelen op het dak helpen om de winkels fossiele-brandstofvrij te maken.
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fossil fuel-free stores towards the end 2020

Strong insulation and airtightness

Since 2012, we have provided every new building (section) with insulation that performs better than required by law. . We also ensure optimum airtightness, without unwanted gaps and cracks, to keep hot air in and cold air out in the winter. We also limit heat loss with, for example, a fast-closing gate at the covered unloading bay and an air lock at the store entrance. We also improve the insulation and airtightness of existing shops.

Attaching insulation to the store facade  The facades of existing stores receive an extra layer of insulation

Residual heat recovery

  • Since 2017, we have installed coolstores  with heat recovery in all new stores. This system stores the heat produced by refrigeration and uses it to heat the store. In stores with a higher heat demand, heat recovery is combined with a heat pump.
  • Existing stores are also equipped with heat recovery. If these stores need extra heat in very cold weather, a conventional heating system is used.
  • Our ventilation systems are also equipped with heat recovery. In the winter, we recover the heat from the discharged indoor air to heat the supplied outdoor air.
Technicians adjust a cooling installation. Thanks to heat recovery, the cooling also heats the store

Efficient cooling

The refrigeration of fresh and frozen goods is one of the biggest energy consumers in a food store That is why we invested in refrigeration methods that are more efficient than classic cooling stands. 

  • All fresh products are displayed in one large, insulated refrigerated area. The refrigeration system brings the cold in where it is needed, right behind the products. Air curtains at the entrances to the space keep the cool air in, and at night rolling shutters provide extra insulation.
  • Frozen products are kept in closed containers with well-insulating lids. When opened, they lose less cold air than cooling stands with (glass) doors.
Store worker working in the refrigerated fresh market. One refrigerated space for fresh products is more economical than classic cooling stands

And: no air conditioning, LED lighting, etc.

The intelligent design of our buildings guarantees a pleasant temperature, without the use of energy wasting air conditioning. For example, well-placed and oriented windows with sun blinds prevent unwanted heating. Thick concrete walls and floors partially absorb heat and release it later during the day.

Both in new and existing buildings, we install very economical LED lighting. Intelligent light control switches off the lighting when it is not needed. LED lighting also emits little 'residual heat'.

This initiative contributes to these sustainable development goal(s)
Learn more about our SDGs
This initiative contributes to step by step
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