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Danfoss ‘Smart Store’ Sets New Bar for Energy-Efficient Supermarkets

The Smart Store — expected to be ~50% more energy efficient than a typical supermarket — will also work as Danfoss’ test center for energy-efficiency technologies.

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 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

To address these problems directly, Danish multinational retailer Danfoss has opened a new, flagship supermarket in Nordborg, Denmark that is expected to boast roughly 50 percent more energy efficiency than a typical supermarket.^1^ 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 and emissions, and worsening food losses.

“We have developed this new 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,” said Jürgen Fischer, President of Danfoss Climate Solutions. “This supermarket is purpose-built for the world ahead of us — a world of more urbanization, 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 percent, 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 US$1 (€0.90) in energy savings is equivalent to increasing sales by US$59 (€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 3-4 years. Through cutting-edge heating and cooling technology, the new supermarket will waste less energy and reduce food waste.

Image credit: Danfoss

Danfoss’ Smart Store demonstrates that it’s not only possible to design and build an energy-efficient supermarket with solutions available today — 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 clean energy to support store operations.

Excess heat is the world’s largest untapped source of energy; and heat capture and reuse is another key to the efficiency of the supermarket — the Smart Store is fitted with state-of-the-art heat-recovery units, designed to recover the waste heat from all refrigeration systems for an up to 90 percent expected reduction in heating costs. 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 of energy use, while the choice of LED lighting uses up to 85 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Automation and monitoring of the Smart Store adds another layer of energy saving.

“Danfoss has reimagined what food retail stores could look like in the 21st century,” Fischer said. “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 is only the beginning: 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-emission supermarkets, while making economic sense.”

^1^ Calculations from Danfoss’ applications specialists based on two reference stores: COOP Otterup, Denmark and COOP Ulkebøl, Denmark.