In one of the most ambitious retrofit initiatives of its kind, Danish retailer Salling Group plans to replace old refrigeration systems in 725 stores with CO2 (R744) racks as part of a DKR 2.5 billion (US$366 million) investment in energy efficiency technologies, according to Emmelie Christensen, Communication Officer at Salling Group.

The refrigeration refurbishment project includes stores in Denmark, Germany and Poland and is expected to conclude in 2026, according to a statement from Salling Group. In Poland 328 stores will be refurbished, 270 stores in Germany and 127 stores in Denmark. The retailer will also install glass doors on all cooling cabinets and freezers.

Salling Group has not yet concluded a deal with a supplier for the CO2 refrigeration systems, Christensen said.

The huge investment also includes replacing gas boilers with heat pumps, installing solar panels, and adding LED lighting in stores that haven’t already received this upgrade. Over the next six years, 570 stores and storage facilities will have solar panels installed on the roof, and 750 stores will have old gas boilers replaced with natural refrigerant heat pumps, most likely using propane (R290) as the refrigerant.

The combined investments will reduce the company’s energy consumption “significantly,” it said in the statement. 

The investment has been planned for a while, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has accelerated the decision. “As part of our climate ambition, we have had a clear plan for reducing our energy consumption across the group and the three markets in which we operate,” said Salling Group CEO Per Bank. “Now the current energy situation with rising prices and dependence on Russia puts further pressure on the need for change, and that is why we have chosen to accelerate investments.”

“By investing heavily in energy reductions here and now, we are able to run a healthy business both now and in the future,” Bank added.

Salling Group operates the Netto and Føtex supermarket chains, the Bilka hypermarket chain and a smaller number of Salling department stores. Founded in 1906, the group today has more than 1,700 stores.

A similarly ambitious CO2 retrofit program has been pursued by the Polish retailer Biedronka.

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