Kingfisher builds ‘energy-positive’ hub in France

Kingfisher-owned tools and hardware firm Castorama France has reopened a store in the South of France after undergoing a two-year transformation that has seen the site streamlined into an energy-positive green building design hub.

The firm has converted its five buildings in Antibes into a two-block building constructed to passive design standards, ensuring it will produce more energy than it consumes. Castorama wants the store to be viewed as a beacon for testing new sustainable construction techniques.

Crispin Burridge, director of Group Property Services at Kingfisher, said: “We continue to trial initiatives to reduce our property portfolio energy intensity and then to find ways of delivering low or zero-carbon energy. Our latest store in Castorama France demonstrates this strategy in action and what is ultimately possible.”

The new-look Antibes store has been fitted with 1,245sq.m of photovoltaic solar panels that, based on the stores annual average energy consumption, will create more energy than the building uses.

The store has also been fitted with double insulation, efficient air conditioning and LED lights to lower energy consumption. Rainwater recycling, a concrete floor with a 20% lower carbon footprint, and sending 90% of waste to recycling plant further adds to the building’s efficiency.

The re-opening of the Antibes store follows the opening on another Kingfisher own store in Dax, in the south-west of France, back in October. The Brico Depot building was designed to be “as energy efficient as possible” and will also be used as a testing ground for new technologies.

Brico Depot will soon be fitted with solar PV in order to become self-sufficient. Its construction meets the American standard for Net Zero energy consumption.

Renewables pledge

Earlier this month, Kingfisher unveiled an ambitious new £50m investment into renewable energy. It forms part of a company-wide drive to reduce energy consumption from the national grid by 10% over the next two years.

The company, which has reduced its energy intensity by 17% since 2010/11, will roll out solar PV in its English and French distribution centres; and plans are in place to add renewables to the remaining 10 countries where Kingfisher operates.

These renewables follow on from the success of PV installations at Kingfisher’s Screwfix head office in Yeovil, which has seen more than a third of the centre’s power generated through solar.

Speaking exclusively to edie at a business summit in Bristol earlier this year, Kingfisher’s group sustainability director Richard Gillies spoke of a complete business model change, in favour of sustainability. Gillies indicated a move towards offering more skills-based solutions, combined with tool rental schemes, to provide customers with the skills they need to deliver home improvements.

Matt Mace

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