Colruyt Group is converting 234 stores into low-energy stores

This year, Colruyt Group started to convert all of its older stores into low-energy stores this year. Over a 12-year period, 234 stores will be converted to energy-efficiency. The wave of conversions is a new step to create stores which do not use fossil fuel and to introduce innovative sustainable technologies. Thanks to this investment of around €75 million, Colruyt Group will reduce its CO₂ emissions by at least 4% by 2029, creating a long-term leverage effect for the benefit of limiting climate change.

Equivalent to 1,975 families

In 2007, Colruyt Group decided that all the new stores it built would only be low-energy stores. In order to reduce its impact on the environment, the group is now also busy converting the older stores it owns into low-energy stores. Over a 12-year period, 234 of the total 516 stores will be converted into low-energy stores. This mainly concerns Colruyt and Okay stores. By 2029, Colruyt Group hopes to own only low-energy stores. The goal is to convert an average of 20 stores per year. The first converted low-energy stores open this Wednesday in Knokke and Marcinelle.

“Low-energy conversion means that every store which is older than ten years that we own will be insulated and made more airtight, and we will revise the technologies where needed,” says Koen Baetens, director of Colruyt Group Technical Services. “Thanks to this investment, CO2 emissions from the whole group will drop by at least 4%. That corresponds to what 1,975 families emit each year for their heating.”

Green energy in place of fossil fuel

The large scale conversion wave is a necessary step to introduce innovative and sustainable technologies. By upgrading the stores, Colruyt Group will create an ideal platform for the future. Heat pumps will provide hot water for example, the refrigeration systems will operate on propene or propane gas, and the heating will run on heat recovery from refrigeration. These new technologies use 100% green electricity. This means that no fossil fuels such as fuel oil or natural gas are needed to run the stores. The first fossil fuel-free OKay stores will open in the autumn.

More pleasant working and shopping

In addition to a positive effect on the environment, the investment in low-energy stores also has an additional advantage. It allows us to avoid draughts, large temperature fluctuations and ensures a constant supply of fresh air in our stores. This increases comfort for our staff and customers, and will allow them to work and shop more comfortably.

Update 31 July 2018

  • We have carried out energy upgrades on fourteen shops during 2017, with another seven locations due to be completed by the end of 2018. Our aim is still to convert a total of 234 buildings to low-energy shops by 2029.
  • We have now evaluated the post-insulation process and we have decided not to carry out full energy renovations on subsequent shops. Instead, we will carry out partial upgrades, focusing on roof insulation and ensuring the building is airtight.
  • We have decided to change our approach because, after carrying out satisfactory tests, we have speeded up the process of rolling out heat recovery to replace classic gas or fuel oil boilers. Heat recovery alone reduces CO by an attractive 3% and means that we can use less invasive post-insulation methods.
  • We estimate that combining the roll-out of heat recovery and partial post-insulation will ultimately achieve a greater CO reduction (6%) than the energy renovation process originally planned (4%).
  • Switching to partial renovation will also save us quite a lot of money; we are now forecasting a total investment of 35 million euro for post-insulation, instead of the original budget of 75 million euro.

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