Putting thought into energy efficiency

High Street chocolatier Thorntons is keeping both its products and its customers cool and cutting carbon emissions from its branches with a nationwide replacement programme for its air conditioning systems. Working in partnership with Mitsubishi Electric, Thorntons is reviewing the way it heats and cools its branches, making them more sustainable by maximising energy efficiency to minimise CO2 emissions.
Established in 1911, Thorntons now has a turnover of £180m and nearly 400 shops and cafes. Working in a food environment and especially with chocolate, means that every shop must monitor its temperatures in both the stockroom (which should be at 14ºC) and on the shop floor (18-19ºC) – the most ambient temperature to store and eat chocolate.
“We want to provide our customers with the finest products which requires us to mechanically cool our premises, but we also want to be certain that we are doing so in the most energy efficient way possible,” explains Thorntons Meadowhall Store Manager Sharon Morley. “That also means we have the potential to reduce our energy bills, so it makes perfect economic sense as well.”
Following a flood in July 2007, the 54m2 store on the ground floor of Sheffield’s famous Meadowhall shopping complex was completely refitted and the installation of a Mr Slim PLARP100 power inverter system is now helping reduce carbon emissions with an estimated 45% reduction over the previous fixed speed system, which had originally been installed in 1996.
Suitable for a huge variety of applications, the Mr Slim range is one of Britain’s best selling air conditioning split systems, combining efficiency with complete versatility. The range also includes a unique Replace system to allow for the easy upgrade of older systems whilst retaining the existing pipework.
“The new air-conditioning system makes it easy and accurate to take and record the required temperature readings throughout the store,” adds Ms Morley. “It provides incomparable performance and control, not to mention lower power consumption – which means reduced emissions and lower bills.”
Meadowhall is one of the first shops to receive the new air conditioning equipment and Thorntons has now rolled the similar improvements across approximately 100 stores.
“If we hope to get near the targets for emissions reductions that the Government has set then we all need to follow Thorntons example and look at more energy efficient ways of providing the comfort levels for our buildings that modern life and tougher legislation demands,” explains Mitsubishi Electric’s Commercial Director, Donald Daw.

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