Southern Co-op fits thermal blinds to save refrigeration energy

‘This is a significant saving of energy and it marks another milestone in our ongoing commitment to combat climate change’

Independent retail society Southern Co-op has upgraded its night blinds to an improved thermal version to save on refrigeration energy.

Once fitted, the blinds will act like a thermal blanket, reducing the amount of energy needed to keep the fridges at optimum temperature and contributing to the co-op’s efforts to reduce its climate impact.

Southern says it is investing £200,000 to retrofit the thermal chiller night blinds into 46 stores this year, with plans to install them on all of its non-door refrigeration.

A thermal blind in one of the society’s stores

A trial saw pilot sites deliver energy savings of up to 9%, the society adds. Once all the blinds have been upgraded, even with just a 5% reduction each year, the initial phase of the project would save 377,402 KWH per annum.

This equates to a projected carbon reduction of nearly 73 tonnes of Co2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per annum, says Southern. This is the equivalent of the average electricity used by two retail stores per year or the average emissions of 40 diesel cars for a year.

Sustainability director Gemma Lacey said: “This is a significant saving of energy and it marks another milestone in our ongoing commitment to combat climate change. It also has an estimated payback period of just 2.2 years.

“Through this, and other forward-looking initiatives, we hope to continue to make substantial energy savings, reduce our carbon footprint, and build a sustainable future for our community and the environment.”

Last year the co-op achieved a reduction of 36% in absolute greenhouse gas emissions since 2019. This was on top of a previous reduction of the business’s carbon footprint of 27% between 2012 and 2019.

Other work being carried out includes assessing sub metering to better understand equipment usage, adjusting times on equipment to save energy, and identifying and taking localised action to address high energy using sites.

The retailer has previously replaced obsolete refrigeration, installed ecoblade technology and energy efficient refrigeration fans to improve energy efficiency and reduce refrigeration emissions.

Southern Co-op has committed to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030 from a 2019 base year – this relates to emissions that fall under its operational control such as electricity, gas, fuel and emissions associated with refrigeration.

To find out more about Southern Co-op’s sustainability efforts, visit