Waitrose & Partners is to introduce a new design of shelf-edge strips which uses racing car technology to make its shops more energy efficient.
Twin blades made of recyclable polycarbonate will be fitted to the front of its fridge shelving to reduce cold air being lost into the aisles, using the same techniques that channel airflow more efficiently around racing cars to enable them to corner at higher speeds.
The Wirth Research (WR) EcoBlade™ will reduce energy consumption of the supermarket’s refrigerators by up to a quarter – saving the energy equivalent of making 1.6 billion cups of tea per year.
It will also make aisles feel warmer for customers and takes away the need to install fridge doors, while ensuring a constant shelf temperature throughout the fridges to maintain product quality.
The EcoBlade, which will roll out in shops from March, is the first in a number of projects on which WR and Waitrose & Partners will be working together, looking at innovative ways to cut energy use in the coming years.
Tor Harris, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, for Waitrose & Partners, said:
“We know there is always more to do, but applying this design means we’re motoring forward in our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. To deliver an energy saving of such significance through changing our shelf edging is fantastic and another example of how we continue to find innovative ways to achieve our goal to make our shops more sustainable.”
Nick Wirth, President and founder of Wirth Research and a former Formula 1 team owner, said:
“We are delighted to receive this significant endorsement from Waitrose & Partners. It is another major step forward in air management and the reduction of energy consumption in buildings.”