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Sainsbury's Store Pilots Green Tech to Help Ease Strain on Grid

<p>In an effort to lighten the load on the National Grid and pare down its own environmental footprint, Sainsbury's is testing a system that will activate its biofuel generator when demand for electricity on the grid peaks.</p>

Sainsbury's newest site in Kent is testing green technology that activates the store's biofuel generator when the demand for electricity on the National Grid peaks.

The retailer is deploying the smart grid system at its store in Hythe, Kent, which opened yesterday. The system monitors the National Grid and when demand spikes, on comes the site's generator -- the first of its kind -- which runs on waste oil and fat from stores in the chain.

Other technology installed in the store further eases strain on the grid during peak times by reducing or simply turning off heating, ventilation and lighting systems.

"To ensure that both consumers and businesses have enough electricity at all times, power stations are kept on stand-by, ready to come into action when required. The trouble is that two-thirds of the UK's stand-by power comes from high-carbon-emitting, non-renewable sources," said Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury's property director, in a statement.

By piloting smart grid technology, the company is helping to "cut the UK's dependence on fossil fuels" while reducing the chain's energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, Sachdev said.

Sainsbury's has a goal of cutting its carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent per square meter by 2012, compared with a 2005-06 baseline. Efforts to hit the target include ratcheting down energy use, consumption of other resources and the amount of waste sent landfills.

In September, the chain opened its first store to use geothermal energy for heating and cooling. If testing at the site in Crayford, Greater London, continues to do well, the chain will consider deploying the technology at at least six other stores in 2011, according to Sachdev. "If this Smart Grid technology trial goes well," he said of the system at the store in Hythe, "we'll be looking at how we can roll that out too."

The "smart grid store" in Hythe is the first result of a five-year partnership launched last year among Imperial College, London, and the Grantham Institute for Climate Change. The collaborative effort is to research ideas in engineering and building design that can significantly shrink the company's carbon footprint.

Image courtesy of Sainsbury's.

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