Other Kingfisher stores and distribution centres have solar panels or air source pumps to provide heating, and plans are being unveiled to install energy storage batteries at the B&Q distribution centre in Swindon. However, the Peterborough store marks the first time Kingfisher has used solar panels or air source pumps together with battery storage to power operations around the clock.
Power is generated by the solar panels during the day, and excess energy is used to charge the batteries which power the store in the evenings. The air source heat pump has replaced gas and electric heating, and together with the solar PV system, heats the store more efficiently. Surplus power goes back to the grid, off-setting the days in winter when the solar PV will be generating less power and grid energy is needed to power the store.
Inspired by these first steps, the Peterborough team is now considering other moves to reduce energy use even further. For example, by using energy metres on-site, Screwfix could see a spike in energy use at the start of the day when people were making their morning tea o coffee. By fitting a hot water tap that uses battery-stored solar power, they hope to eliminate this energy use.
Graham Bell, CEO at Screwfix, commented: "We are investing now to cut energy across our own operations, and our long-term aspiration is to match this by helping customers have zero carbon or energy positive homes and businesses too. Our net zero store in Peterborough represents a significant milestone in our ambition to embed sustainability across the business, and help customers to create good, sustainable homes and businesses."
Kingfisher's new annual sustainability report shows the business has reduced its absolute carbon footprint by 16% since 2010/11 and aims to increase this to 25% by 2020. It purchases 100% of its UK energy from renewable sources, covering both the Screwfix and B&Q businesses, and will have invested over £10 million in on-site renewables by the end of this year.
The sustainability report also reveals that a third (32%) of Kingfisher group sales now come from products that make customers' homes more sustainable, taking the business closer to its goal of 50% by 2020. For example, as of 2017/18, Kingfisher has switched 91% of all light bulbs to LED, and sales of all LED products exceed £200 million. Meanwhile, the company is also improving water efficiency in various products, such as the new unified range of kitchen taps launched last year that are all low flow.