You would be forgiven for thinking that all supermarkets are born equal; the same blueprint for design and layout. However, the new supermarket being built in Gloucester by Sainsbury’s is challenging convention by fitting kinetic road plates in its car park. These plates will generate electricty that can be used in the store’s checkouts, which will help reduce the store’s carbon footprint.
Although not widely known about, the technology isn’t new; the kinetic plates are on trial in a number of distribution warehouses, but this is the first time they have been put to use in a supermarket carpark. Developed by a scientist in Dorset, Peter Hughes of Highway Energy Systems, the kinetic road plates are designed to transfer energy from the the tyres of cars as they pass over them as they travel across the car park. The cars create a rocking motion in the plates which drives a generator to produce the electricity; electricity generated from energy that would otherwise be lost.
The supermarket chain estimates that this technology will produce 30KW of electricity every hour, more than enough to power the checkouts in the store, and would additionally go a long way to powering more energy sapping appliances like fridges and freezers.
The kinetic plates are only one eco-friendly aspect of the new store. The Gloucester branch will also feature a rainwater collection system which will collect water for use in the store’s toilets, solar thermal panels meeting the store’s hot water requirements throughout the summer, ‘sun pipes’ and large windows in order to take advantage of natural light and cut electricity usage, and installing blinds to reduce the amount of energy lost from freezer areas. Sainsbury’s are looking to roll out the kinetic plate technology across a number of other stores as they strive to lead other supermarkets in the fight for energy efficiency. Sainsbury’s Director of Store Development and Construction, David Sheehan, said,
“The new environmental features within the Gloucester Quays store marks a very exciting time in store development. We are able to use cutting edge technology to improve; our services, the store environment for both our customers and colleagues at the same time as ultimately reducing our carbon footprint across the UK.”