As the world’s population continues on its course to reach 10-billion people by 2050, investments in sustainable food retail and storage are urgently needed to ensure we are able to feed the growing number of people on the planet.

The pressure is growing, both on energy demand and costs, and on the need to cut down on food loss. If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter behind the US and China, contributing to up to 10% of the world’s greenhouse gases.

To address these problems directly, Danfoss has announced the opening of a new, flagship supermarket which is expected to be approximately 50% more energy efficient compared to a typical supermarket with a first-generation CO2 refrigeration system and no energy efficiency solutions. It is also expected to be approximately 20 to 30% more efficient than an equivalent local store already fitted with multiple energy efficiency solutions.

Climate-friendly, super-efficient and loaded with automation solutions, the new ‘Smart Store’ is providing inspiration for food retailers in a world of rising energy costs, emissions, and worsening food losses.

J├╝rgen Fischer, president of Danfoss Climate Solutions, comments: “We have developed this new Smart Store supermarket with partners and customers to demonstrate that it is possible to build a climate friendly and super-efficient facility, using world-class heating and cooling technology. Our new ‘Smart Store’ proves that the future is now. This supermarket is purpose-built for the world ahead of us; a world of more urbanisation, larger populations, greater energy demands, a growing need for cooling, and efficient food storage.”

While supermarkets and retail food stores are an integral part of communities around the world, they are also big energy consumers. The average profit margin for a large food retailer is just 1,7%, which puts every operating cost under scrutiny. Energy is an area where significant savings can be achieved with relatively low investment and good payback times. In fact, the US EPA estimates that one US dollar (EUR 0.90) in energy savings is equivalent to increasing sales by US$59 (EUR 54).

The range of new solutions in the ‘Smart Store’ demonstrates the significant savings that can be achieved in supermarkets, with a typical payback time of three to four years. By using world-class heating and cooling technology, the new supermarket will waste less energy and reduce food waste.

Roy Naidoo, sales director sub-Saharan Africa for Danfoss Climate Solutions, says: “Due to the high importance of energy saving in South Africa and other African countries, we have noticed a trend towards adopting smart store solutions. Customers require real-time monitoring and management of their stores, particularly to regulate and manage their energy consumption. By having a physical concept, we can demonstrate to the market what we can offer.”

The Smart Store supermarket demonstrates that it’s not only possible to design and build an energy-efficient supermarket with solutions available today, but it also makes good business sense.

Solar power is the supermarket’s primary energy source with 100 kW solar panels on the building’s roof providing green energy to support the supermarket operations.

Heat capture and reuse is also key to the energy efficiency of the supermarket with up to 90% reduction in supermarket heating costs expected. Excess heat is the world’s largest untapped source of energy. The ‘Smart Store’ is fitted with state-of-the-art heat recovery units, designed to recover the waste heat from all the refrigeration systems. The recovered heat is reused to heat up the store and produce domestic hot water, with any additional heat shared with residents of the surrounding town through a district energy network.

Other initiatives such as installing doors on refrigerator and freezer cases will save around a third on energy use, while the choice of LED lighting uses up to 85% less electricity than incandescent bulbs.[6] Automation and monitoring of the ‘Smart Store’ adds another layer of energy saving.

Fischer adds: “Danfoss has reimagined what food retail stores could look like in the 21st century. For the first time, all of Danfoss’ most cutting-edge technology and energy efficient food retail solutions are being brought together into one retail site. But the new Smart Store supermarket is only the beginning. Because it will also serve as an Application Development Center, a ‘live’ testing site for new technologies which we hope will inspire food retailers around the world to move towards zero emissions supermarkets – while making economic sense.”