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Green shopping oasis

With its new supermarket, Brazil’s Verdemar retail chain takes its name literally by going green

In Jardim Canadá, a community in the Brazilian state of Belo Horizonte, cool temperatures are occasionally encountered due to the great elevation. Therefore, customers appreciate the floor heating of the Verdemar chain’s supermarket, which opened in April of last year. Though this may sound like wasteful luxury, it is actually precisely the opposite. All of the store’s many amenities, of which the floor heating is just one, have one thing in common: they are 100 percent environmentally friendly. In the store’s 1.500 square metres of space, Verdemar — Portuguese for “green sea” — has created an environmentally aware shopping oasis that remains one of a kind in Brazil.

Naturally cold

The heart of the green systems – and the supplier of the hot water for the floor heating – is the cooling system. “We are the first supermarket in Latin America to use CO2 as a refrigerant. It replaces the chlorofluorocarbons used earlier,” explains Brognaro Poni, Business Director of the supermarket chain. In the Skyrack Breeze cooling system from Brazil-based manufacturer Plotter & Racks, CO2 serves as the refrigerant for the upright freezers and freezer cases. This allows foodstuffs to be cooled faster, letting them retain more moisture and thus maintain a higher level of quality.

“Compared to conventional refrigeration plants, CO2-based systems have emissions that are about six times lower,” explains Marcelo Merolli, Managing Director of Plotter & Racks. Moreover, due to the higher refrigeration capacity of the carbon dioxide and the resulting lower temperatures, higher throughput rates can be attained, which saves costs. The energy balance is likewise respectable: savings of some 40 percent are possible due to smaller compressors and pumps, smaller pipeline diameters and ESM fans.

Small, quiet, effective

The fans with GreenTech EC technology supplied by ebm-papst can be run at normal or double speed. An electronic sensor measures the ambient temperature and adapts the speed of the fans to the respective conditions. At reduced speed, the maintenance-free ESM fans provide energy savings of up to 60 percent — which saves costs. Moreover, the fans generate very little heat and work quietly. An additional plus: They are very small and thus are an ideal addition to CO2-based refrigeration plants, which require less space in general because of their smaller subassemblies.

At the vanguard

Brognaro Poni needs space for other innovations that are outstanding features of his supermarket: for example, for recycling facilities for oil, paper, glass, metal and Tetra Packs, which his customers can bring to the store for processing. “We want to set an example with our new store. The investment in Jardim Canadá was about 15 percent higher than for our traditional stores, but we offer our customers state-of-the-art comfort and convenience while also doing good for the environment.”

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