James Harman from Mitsubishi Electric looks at how to marry the twin aims of shopper comfort and energy efficiency
As we approach the warmer months, retailers should be thinking about their in-store air conditioning systems and whether they’re up to the task of keeping shoppers cool in another hot UK summer.
But in addition to providing a comfortable shopping experience, energy efficiency and carbon reduction should also be top priorities when looking at how air conditioning systems perform.
Many of the UK’s largest retailers have embarked on the Net Zero path, and cooling systems can be significant energy users.
Advanced air conditioning systems can provide both the comfort customers want and help reduce energy and carbon emissions.
Retrofitting existing systems, or installing new ones with the latest technology, can help retailers to achieve their sustainability goals.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), whose members include the UK’s biggest retailers, has set a target of getting the whole of the UK retail industry and its supply chains to Net Zero by 2040.
It’s an enormous task, and the BRC established milestones along the way to that end date. These milestones include ensuring that all buildings are powered by renewable energy by 2025, with 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
Cutting back on energy waste is a vital part of using renewables – whether on-site generated or sustainably sourced.
Lowering energy use in stores and across retail portfolios brings those targets one step closer, making them more achievable – not just for the retail sector but for the whole of the UK.
This is similar to creating a budget for a household, cutting back on unnecessary expenses to make room for more essential items.
By reducing energy waste, retailers can free up the budget to invest in more sustainable energy sources, helping to move the UK closer to its renewable energy goals.
F Gas Regulations
Another compelling reason to look at air conditioning equipment around the building is the changing F Gas Regulations.
The European Union has developed the F Gas Regulations to phase down the use of fluorinated (F) gases in its member countries.
The regulations focus on the most common type of F gas, HFCs.
Retailers should review the refrigerants used in their air conditioning systems, as some may become challenging to access.
New air conditioning systems that use less refrigerant can reduce the carbon footprint and maintenance costs.
Reducing energy costs
It’s safe to say that in 2023, rising energy costs will also impact the UK retail sector.
As a result, energy management is now a new profit centre for retailers.
Investing in new equipment that saves energy or operating existing systems more efficiently has a faster payback period.
As a result, energy efficiency measures are becoming an integral part of business strategies for UK retailers, with energy management now seen as a critical area for financial returns.
So, how can you ensure your air conditioning systems are optimised for energy efficiency?
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