Next time you feel like generating a little energy, just roll into your local Sainsbury’s! The third largest British supermarket chain has just unveiled a new energy system that generates power from the vehicles entering the parking lot of its new store in Gloucester. Think that’s neat? It’s just the tip of the iceberg lettuce for this new lean, green market.
Sainsbury’s new kinetic plate system was developed by Highway Energy Systems and consists of two kinetic road plates that move when vehicles drive over them. This movement generates enough energy to drive a generator which produces around 30kW per hour. That, according to the store, is enough to power their checkout system. Of course, kinetic energy is not free – it comes from the vehicles passing over them. So technically, this is really a gasoline powered store. However, the amount of fuel needed is so tiny that the effect is equivalent to that of passing over a speed bump.
The kinetic plates aren’t the only things green about the new store. It also features rainwater tanks, solar hot water systems, more daylight and an efficient building management system (BMS). According to the store, more than 90% of the construction waste was reused or recycled. Furthermore, the chain is trying to reduce the amount of waste that it sends to landfill, choosing to send it to a biomass plant in Scotland.
Green megamarkets sound like a bit of an oxymoron, and frankly we prefer a good old fashioned farmer’s market, local neighborhood retailer or homegrown produce any day of the week. But we don’t see the need for or the convenience associated with supermarkets dying out any time soon, so making each one as green as possible is a good way to go.