“If you are to make a serious attempt to cut your energy usage and carbon footprint, you have to be able to measure your consumption. This allows you to make investment with confidence and measure the results effectively.” Andrew Thornton, Thornton’s Budgens

In June 2009 Andrew Thornton became acutely aware that energy costs in his store were unsustainable and had to be brought under control. He decided to employ the services of eco-monitor who specialise in developing and delivering plans that reduce energy consumption and costs, then monitor and manage the results.

A store ‘Energy Team’ was created, consisting of store colleagues and a strategic energy plan was developed and implemented that identified and tackled wasted energy and equipment efficiency, particularly on refrigeration and lighting.

The key strands of the plan were;

  • Visibility – energy monitoring & reporting.
  • Energy Control – manual & automated.
  • Pro-active refrigeration maintenance.
  • New Equipment – energy saving technology.
  • Focus – consistent monitoring & actions.

Once eco-monitor’s weekly energy monitoring started to identify opportunities to reduce consumption the Energy Team implemented the plan. The key actions included;

  • Weekly monitoring highlighting issues.
  • Energy disciplines (Lights/Night Blinds, etc)
  • Pro-active refrigeration maintainer appointed (Climate Cooling).
  • Retro – fitting of Chiller Cabinet Doors.
  • Installing new freezer units in the store.

Chiller doors big results copyOne of the most significant investments in energy reduction that was made was the installation of doors on the existing chiller cabinets.

Andrew became the first Independent Supermarket Retailer in the UK to install doors on existing cabinets and Delta Refrigeration was chosen for the project. This was a major decision given that the concept was still relatively new and there were concerns over both the impact on sales and the return on investment being achieved.
Through close monitoring of energy consumption by the eco-monitor system, the overall forecasted savings of 34% on the chillers have been confirmed. Annual electricity savings of £5,700 per year have been realised and 36 tonnes of carbon emissions have been saved. Payback for the project will take 5 years.

There has been no negative impact on sales and customer feedback has been very positive. Spurred on by these results, Andrew has made a further investment in new energy efficient freezers on the shop floor that will reduce the store’s electricity consumption by a further 11%, saving £6,300 annually and reducing annual store carbon emissions by a further 40 tonnes.


Andrew concludes “when times are hard people seem reluctant to commit to energy efficiency, but if they only realised what true savings they could achieve through a focused plan and working with experts, they would see it is a no-brainer.”

More information:

Rav Garcha takes a trip round the country in search of inspirational store owners this time it is all about innovators in sustainable retailing.


Retail Vision TV presents an informative and succinct video on what exactly Thornton’s Budgens is doing differently from other supermarkets such as using more efficient lighting and introducing chiller doors; essentially demonstrating that cutting a store’s environmental impact can be good business.