A heating system powered by ‘oven chips’ will save up to 40% energy in a local Co-operative Group store.
The Fort William store has installed a biomass boiler to convert the woodchips into energy to provide heat and hot water.
Recycled from waste by local firm BSW Timber, and from forests just ten miles away at Spean Bridge, the system will save around 90 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
It is the first biomass heating system to be installed by the Group at one of its stores. As part of a £540,000 refit of its Kilmallie Road store, the retailer teamed up with Fort William-based HWEnergy.
CO2 emissions from the woodchip burner are absorbed by the forest, and more trees are planted to replace those used for fuel, creating a renewable, sustainable, “closed-loop” system.
Martin Lowe, regional energy manager for the Group, said: “It’s the first time we’ve installed a biomass system into one of our stores, and if this pilot works well then we will consider introducing them elsewhere.
“As a community retailer this sort of system is ideal for us. Not only is it environmentally-friendly, and cost-effective, but working with a Fort William-based supplier, HW Energy, means were also able to boost the local economy as well.”
Bruno Berardelli, managing director at HW Energy, added: “Switching to biomass allows retailers like The Co-operative Food to save up to 40% on their heating costs and be environmentally sustainable by eliminating carbon emissions.
“They also receive income from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive. Businesses of all types can benefit and it means that by having a fixed price for theirheat supply they don’t have to worry about unforeseen energy cost fluctuations. It’s the perfect example of keeping things local.”