Star Refrigeration helps Tesco to 10% energy savings across eight temperature controlled distribution sites

8 April, 24
Star Refrigeration's Ethos AI delivers 4GWh in energy savings and an 835-tonne CO2e reduction for Tesco in 21 months, with an ROI of under three months.

Star Refrigeration’s Ethos AI delivers 4GWh in energy savings and an 835-tonne CO2e reduction for Tesco in 21 months, with an ROI of under three months.

Following a successful pilot program at three sites, Star Refrigeration and its strategic insights data monitoring system, Ethos, have helped the nation’s largest retailer saved 4GWh on energy costs and over 835 tonnes of CO2e across its refrigerated distribution network.

Ethos is an innovative data-led performance optimisation and smart monitoring service for industrial refrigeration and heating equipment. With Ethos, informed decision-making becomes the norm, rather than the exception, meaning energy performance gaps can be effectively addressed, and plant longevity and reliability improved. It can also predict issues in refrigeration equipment before they become a threat to operations, enabling preventative actions by the incumbent maintenance service provider.

Initially installed at three sites before being rolled out to five additional locations across the country, Ethos data monitoring empowered Tesco maintenance team, StarCare, to make a number of changes – often with no additional spend required – and find the optimal balance between operational efficiency and energy consumption. Improvements included changing set points, purging air from condensers and making repairs. As part of pre-planned capital expenditure initiatives, ageing condensers were also replaced. These measures resulted in significant improvements in energy optimisation, while maintaining product integrity and quality.

One of the changes to emerge as a result of the Ethos deployment was the decision to raise chill temperatures by 1 degree Celsius across Tesco’s estate. This was a bold move which challenged conventional practises in the sector and helped Tesco to achieve substantial energy savings across its distribution network.

Energy typically consumes between 9% and 17% of a cold store facility’s revenue, and the refrigeration system often comprises upwards of 70% of those costs, making it imperative for retailers to mitigate spending as much as possible by optimising energy use.

Thanks to Ethos, Tesco was able to achieve 4GW of energy savings and recorded an 835 tonne reduction in CO2 emissions at locations in Livingston, Doncaster, Hinckley, Widnes, Avonmouth, Daventry, Dagenham and Southampton between January 2022 and September 2023. The 10% saving on average include a 20% reduction in energy consumption in Hinckley, a 16% reduction in Dagenham and a saving of 13% in Doncaster.

Dr Rob Lamb, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Star Refrigeration, said, “We’re delighted to have partnered with Tesco on this journey and proud of the results that we have achieved. Thanks to Ethos, Tesco has been able to make notable energy savings, further optimising its energy use and lowering carbon emissions, while ensuring cost-effective refrigeration across its distribution network in what has been a relatively short period of time.”

Rob Redfern, Tesco Group Energy Manager (Renewables & LZC), said, “As the UK’s largest retailer, Tesco is committed to operating responsibly and sustainably. Reducing our energy consumption and CO2 emissions across our distribution network is just one way we’re taking action. The insights that Ethos and the Star Refrigeration team have delivered have been invaluable and allowed us to make targeted changes at each of the eight distribution sites in a strategic manner, often with no additional spend required. We’re very proud to say that we have reduced energy consumption by an average of 10% across those distribution sites in the short period between January 2022 and September 2023, achieving a return on investment in under three months.”

Ethos can be retrofitted into existing equipment. It collects data from refrigeration and heating equipment to compare it against a cloud based ‘digital twin’ under the same operating conditions. This process utilises advanced AI technology in conjunction with the expertise of Star Refrigeration’s Data Analytics team – including refrigeration/heating consultants, engineers, programmers, and data analysts – to pinpoint operational inefficiencies. Discrepancies are presented on an interactive online dashboard alongside estimated monetary savings and CO2 emission reductions achievable through the specified rectification actions.

Star Refrigeration’s deployment of Ethos in partnership with Tesco has recently won the ‘Technological Breakthrough -Innovation of the Year 2024’ Award at the Cold Chain Federation’s Sustainability Awards which took place during their Cold Chain Climate Summit in Warwick on 13th March 2024.

To read the full case study on the Star Refrigeration and Tesco project and find out how Ethos achieved the savings, visit https://www.star-ref.co.uk/case-studies/tesco-saves-4gwh-of-energy-and-835-tonnes-of-co2/

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