No matter how big or small your business is, making tangible savings on outgoings and overheads is something we all strive for. There are limits though, and some companies are finding that the race to reduce energy use and create a greener, more economical business creates complex business decisions.

Supermarkets are known to be large energy consumers, but recently the Co-Op chain made a surprisingly simple yet effective change to their stores which shaved a cool £50m off their business energy bills.

To make the savings the Co-Op went against the grain for food retailers and began using refrigerators with doors as opposed to the open fridges used by most supermarkets. But the changes haven’t been received with enthusiasm across the supermarket industry. Many of the other leading brands are worried that the sales of chilled products such as milk, cheese and meat will suffer if stored behind closed doors.

The Co-Op rolled out the fridge door policy in 100 of its stores last year and intends on extending it even further in 2013 in an effort to stay ahead of business electricity prices. They claim that sales of refrigerated products are selling as well as ever in all of their branches.

Not all supermarkets are ignoring the Co-Op’s success. A small number are planning on giving the fridge door policy a trial, including Sainsbury’s who plan to install the doors in 6 of their 1000 stores nationally. Tesco’s are also introducing the policy in their smaller Express stores.

The energy-saving move isn’t limited to the UK either. French food stores are way ahead and Supermarkets in the country have agreed a deal to fit fridge doors in 75% of their stores nationwide – a move that will reduce the country’s electricity use by a staggering 1%[1]

Read our energy-saving guide for retailers for tips on simple ways to get started with your own energy-saving projects: http://www.britishgas.co.uk/business/energy-made-simple/saving-energy/saving-energy-retail.html

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