Every little helps at Wigan pioneering mini-market

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A NEW Wigan store is pioneering a national programme to slash carbon emissions.

And bosses say that if it is a success if will be rolled out across one of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains.

The Tesco Express in Whelley – formerly the Alexandra Arms pub – is one of just five currently being fitted with a renewable energy low temperature air-water heat pump and solar system to provide green space and hot water heating.

If, after six months, results from the “guinea pig” stores are favourable, the Daikin Altherma system will be installed across all Tesco’s now approaching 1,300 Express stores nationwide.

The trial forms part of an initiative by the high street giant to become a completely zero-carbon business by 2050.

Tesco says it acknowledges the impact that greenhouse gas generation from its stores is having on the environment and pledges to halve emissions from its 2006/7 baseline in the next eight years.

It also wants to introduce a 50 per cent cut in the CO2 emissions from all new stores, when compared with those built in 2006.

Until now, Tesco’s Express stores have use 3kW point-of-use electric hot water heaters and electric over door air curtains.

But now at Whelley Tesco Express and four other stores Daikin Altherma system will provide all the store’s space and water heating requirements.

Their air-water heat pumps will provide the space heating and hot water, while Daikin solar thermal systems make full use of solar energy to provide additional hot water, which is expected to provide around 60 per cent of the annual requirement.

In the brighter summer months this could be boosted to solar heating all the store’s hot water.

Its expected that the trials will show significant energy and carbon savings, compared with traditional heating and hot water systems.

Installed by Space Engineering Services, the Daikin Altherma air-water heat pump combined with Daikin solar thermal collectors for additional hot water provision claim to offer some of the highest efficiencies now available.

The heat pump extracts renewable heat energy from the air outside and brings it inside to provide low cost heat through a reversed refrigeration cycle, which heats and distributes the extracted and warmed air.

Amazingly it works even when outside temperatures plunge to as low as -20C.

The Daikin Altherma heat pump operates in conjunction with an indirect pressurised solar thermal system which transfers the solar heat into the Daikin hot water cylinder via an external heat exchanger, which allows the entire content of the cylinder to be heated efficiently with solar heat.

During solar heating, the heat pump is disabled as the solar energy gets priority, ensuring maximum efficiency. However, whenever extra energy is needed, the Daikin Altherma heat pump provides efficient support for hot water production, all with very low environmental impact.

A spokesman for Daikin Altherma said: “This project is the first step in a potentially hugely significant carbon reduction journey and has the potential to make a major difference to the carbon footprint of one of the world’s largest retailers.

“Tesco has committed to reducing carbon emissions from its stores by half by 2020 and this project proves that a significant step on that journey is not only theoretically possible but a realistic and cost-efficient probability.”

“The company has 1,285 Tesco Express stores and this project has the potential to be replicated in other Express stores. By using renewable heating and hot water solutions, such as this, Tesco can make a huge leap towards its ultimate goal of producing zero carbon stores.”