© Photo | Reinhard Rosendahl

EC in super­mar­kets: Measur­able savings

Eating is a sensory plea­sure — but unfor­tu­nately buying food is often not. Karsten and Marcus Nüsken prove that this can be different in their seven Rewe super­mar­kets in West­phalia. The brothers explain how they managed to use EC tech­nology to cata­pult one of their super­mar­kets into the top ten super­mar­kets in Europe.

Mr Nüsken, last year you fully refur­bished one of your super­mar­kets and equipped it with new refrig­er­a­tion units. How did EC motors come to be consid­ered?

Marcus Nüsken: Our supplier for refrig­er­a­tion units informed us of the savings poten­tials promised by the new ebm-papst fans. This convinced us that it is more worth­while to accept higher procure­ment costs in the long term, because energy costs impact directly on my balance sheet. We converted all cooling units in the new super­market to EC tech­nology in one go, and the savings success was imme­di­ately measur­able: despite a larger refrig­er­a­tion config­u­ra­tion the consump­tion has fallen consid­er­ably. This impressed us. We have gone over to EC fans in three further super­mar­kets, and when I compare the overall power consump­tion it is apparent that these super­mar­kets have a far more effi­cient energy consump­tion.

Did you have ideal exam­ples for your energy-saving measures?

Karsten Nüsken: No. Merely the trend in energy prices worried us. We thought about what we could do to keep the energy costs low in the long term. At first we had very prac­tical ideas that showed great effect.

For instance?

Marcus Nüsken: Our heated cashier stations in the entrance area: it is often really uncom­fort­able at the doors. Above all in the period as the weather turns cold and the heating is not yet switched on. There­fore, instead of routing the waste heat from our cooling units out over the roof, we directed it into a water tank and trans­ported it to the cashier stations. After all, we are speaking here of energy to the extent of 5,000 to 7,000 kW. Our cashier team no longer freeze and are very rarely ill.

You have imple­mented some inno­v­a­tive service ideas in your new super­mar­kets. Are you saving energy to make invest­ments else­where?

Karsten Nüsken: No, first and fore­most we are of course saving energy to increase the effi­ciency of our super­mar­kets. On the other hand however, we are using the bene­fits appro­pri­ately some­where else. We would like to turn shop­ping into an expe­ri­ence, because shop­ping also increas­ingly means commu­ni­ca­tion. The elderly in partic­ular not only go into a super­market because they need things, they go there as a diver­sion, for enter­tain­ment. We care about that. Our newly designed super­market is, for instance, the first in Europe with a fragrance delivery system. The specially designed scent comprising of lemon and pepper aromas makes a sublim­inal impres­sion on our customers and provides a feeling of well-being. We achieved 88 from 100 points in a customer survey recently performed by infratest. The average is 68 points in Germany. This means we are one of the top ten super­mar­kets in Europe.

Where do you see further saving poten­tials for elec­tricity?

Marcus Nüsken: The aware­ness for energy effi­ciency will continue to rise, I there­fore believe that EC motors will become the stan­dard. But heat recovery from refrig­er­a­tion machines is also an impor­tant topic. Many produce hot water as they operate, that is a nice approach, but it is not enough at all. I believe that we will see hardly any refrig­er­ated shelves in the long term. It is impor­tant to keep the cold inside the units.

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  • Marco on said:

    Machen einen sehr inno­v­a­tiven Eindruck, die zwei!