Most people try their best to save on energy bills at home, whether using energy efficient light bulbs, putting in loft insulation or simply remembering to turn off lights and taps when they aren’t being used.
So, imagine the job a large retailer like Boots has when it comes to managing energy efficiency across almost 2,500 stores of varying shapes and sizes. This is why we have ‘energy and carbon management’ as one of our main corporate social responsibility priorities. We focus our activity in three areas:
- Finding and investing in technological solutions, such as low energy lighting systems, that can help us use energy resources more efficiently
- Motivating staff to actively care about the environment, giving them guidance and information to help them make a real difference
- Being a ‘champion’ of change, showing how much we care about the need for a low carbon economy
Investing for the future
Of course, committing to energy reduction isn’t about simply investing in the latest technology; it’s about having great information and using it to invest wisely in real solutions that will work for our stores. Since 2009 we have invested over £20 million in technology to reduce energy consumption in stores – the main areas we’ve looked at are:
- Devices to lower the voltage of the electricity supply to the building, which also reduces the electricity that is used
- Improvements in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
- Using automated building management systems to increase control of energy consumption in our stores
- Replacing inefficient lighting with LED (light emitting diode) technology
- Learning from our low carbon stores and using the information from the trial technologies installed to make the best investments
We are so committed to reducing energy emissions we have set up an energy programme for our employees – EnergyCare. Initially focused on some 300 of our larger stores, this programme gives employees the tools and information they need to help them actively care for our environment and take local action.
Following an initial visit and assessment, each store received a personalised checklist identifying areas where improvements could be made. They now receive a regular update on how much energy they are using, their performance compared against other stores, and recommendations on how they can improve their energy wastage. Our colleagues have found the interaction with experts, the practical guidance and the information really useful - so much so that each store has been making a ‘pledge’ to do something different and make a real difference.
We pledged to maintain energy savings by completing a quarterly energy audit Macclesfield store
Our store pledge was to switch off lights when they weren’t being used and make sure all computers were off when we closed the store for the night Nottingham store
There were so many ways to make a big difference, but we agreed to motivate all store staff to get involved and get 100% on our energy e-learning training Ealing store
Champions of change
As a retailer everyone knows and trusts, we want to be a business that is working on a wider scale to help tackle energy issues. Here are some of the ways we are championing for change towards a low carbon economy:
- We have been generating our own energy since 1915 when our first Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant was constructed at the Island Street site in Nottingham
- We generate the majority of the energy for our Nottingham support office site using our own, highly efficient Combined Heat and Power (CHP) energy centre
- Our other sites, stores and warehouses across Great Britain are using 100% certified green electricity*
- Since 2007, we have been members of The Prince’s May Day Network, a network of over 3,800 businesses committed to working collaboratively to tackle climate change, helping to build a sustainable future for our planet
* Excluding landlord supplies