“We have a number of supermarket rebuilds, where we put in place a new building with a new technical installation. We have five such projects that we’ll deliver this year. For us, 2017 is about continuity. We’ll keep on investing in our stores to make our installations more efficient, with fewer leaks,” David Schalenbourg, director – technical department, Affiliated Stores & Real Estate at leading Belgian retailer Delhaize, told Accelerate Europe magazine.

“The rhythm that we’re following is stable. From 2015-2016, we added 18 stores with natural refrigerants, bringing us to 74. Of the 18 that we added, six were CO2 transcritical and 12 were hybrid installations,” Schalenbourg says.

“We lowered our average GWP to around 2,300 for all Delhaize-operated stores. The final aim is to arrive at a GWP of 1,” he adds.

Delhaize operates about 760 stores in Belgium and Luxembourg. 140 of these are Delhaize-operated, while the others are run by affiliates. 74 Delhaize-operated stores use natural refrigerants, of which 14 are CO2 transcritical systems. “In 2016, we added six,” Schalenbourg says.

The retailer – which merged with Ahold to form Ahold-Delhaize in July 2016 – is aiming to reduce its CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. A key part of Delhaize’s strategy for achieving this is to replace HFC installations with natural refrigerant alternatives, namely CO2 and hydrocarbons.

“We’re looking forward to seeing within the new Ahold Delhaize group where we all are in terms of level of ambition and on a technical level,” Schalenbourg says. 

“The rhythm that we’re following is stable. From 2015-2016, we added 18 stores with natural refrigerants, bringing us to 74. Of the 18 that we added, six were CO2 transcritical and 12 were hybrid installations.

David Schalenbourg, Delhaize  

New store in Denderleeuw delivers energy savings

In September 2016, Delhaize opened a new store in Denderleeuw, 30km from Brussels. “It has a new full CO2 transcritical installation, with refrigeration, heating and air conditioning coming from the same rack. It uses heat reclaim, so heating and hot water are both centralised. In consumption, when everything’s operational, previously we used about 350 amperes. Now we use 170A. So we reduced [energy consumption] by half. That’s a tremendous result and shows that we’re going in the right direction,” Schalenbourg enthuses.

Smaller plug-in cabinets using hydrocarbons often complement the CO2 racks. This gives Delhaize the flexibility to run temporary product promotions in prominent areas of the stores.

One exciting project in the pipeline for 2017 is an urban farm, to be built on the roof of a store in the Brussels suburb of Boondael. Salad grown on the rooftop will be sold in the commercial space below.

The full version of this interview with Delhaize is in the spring edition of Accelerate Europe. It is part of a wider story on natural refrigerants in Europe’s biggest food retailers. Click here to read it.

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