Waitrose motors forwards with green retail tech

Waitrose & Partners is set to introduce fridge shelf-edge strips, which use racing car technology, to make its stores more energy efficient.

Twin blades made of recyclable polycarbonate will be fitted to reduce cold air being lost into the aisles. It is claimed that the Wirth Research (WR) EcoBlade will reduce energy consumption of the supermarket’s refrigerators by up to a quarter – saving the energy equivalent of making 1.6 billion cups of tea per year. It will also make aisles feel warmer for customers and takes away the need to install fridge doors, while ensuring a constant shelf temperature throughout the fridges to maintain product quality.

The EcoBlade, which will roll-out in shops from March, is the first in a number of energy efficiency projects on which WR and Waitrose & Partners will be working together.

Tor Harris, head of corporate social responsibility, for Waitrose & Partners, said: “We know there is always more to do, but applying this design means we’re motoring forward in our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. To deliver an energy saving of such significance through changing our shelf edging is fantastic and another example of how we continue to find innovative ways to achieve our goal to make our shops more sustainable."

Not to be outdone on the eco-warrior front, Marks & Spencer recently rolled out Aerofoils, an energy saving device for open-fronted retail fridges. The solution, from Aerofoil Energy, is influenced by Formula One aerodynamics from Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams Group, and is similar in appearance to the rear wing of a Formula One car. It uses aerodynamics to guide cold air down the fridge more efficiently.