Energy that grows back
We are making increasing use of energy from renewable sources, for example with wood heating in stores and distribution centres, photovoltaic installations on our buildings, and through the promotion of biogas plants at our Naturafarm producers.
A modern wood-chip facility with flue-gas cleaning is used for the supermarket and restaurant at the Muripark shopping centre in Muri. In comparison with conventional oil heating, this enables us to save 90 tonnes of CO2 per year. In 2011, our own large bakery in Gossau became the first industrial bakery in Switzerland to use a modern wood-chip furnace, thereby cutting annual CO2 emissions by 70 per cent. This is equivalent to 900 tonnes. Our Interdiscount sales format also installed a wood-chip facility at its warehouse in Jegenstorf in 2012, with the result that 80 per cent of heating requirements are covered in this way and annual CO2 emissions have been reduced by 280 tonnes.
Twenty photovoltaic installations
We have mounted 20 photovoltaic installations with a total output of 3,700 kilowatts on our buildings. These installations produce around 3.6 million kilowatt-hours of solar electricity per year, which is enough to meet the average annual electricity requirements of up to 1,100 Swiss households. This environmentally friendly electricity is fed into the grid.
Support for biogas plants
From 2005 to 2011, the Coop Sustainability Fund supported the construction of biogas plants at Naturafarm and Naturaplan producers with up to CHF 200,000. These 11 plants produce around 6.4 million kilowatt-hours of electricity from biogenic waste every year, meeting the average electricity requirements of up to 2,000 Swiss households.
The annual heat requirements of our distribution centre in Wangen were reduced by 30 per cent thanks to a building refurbishment project. We now already cover up to 70 per cent of these requirements with three groundwater heat pumps. The remaining heat requirements are met by a new gas heating system. We are currently building a new large bakery in Schafisheim, which will need 20,000 megawatt-hours of process heat in the form of thermal oil at a temperature of 300 degrees Celsius. We will obtain 85 per cent of the necessary heat from biomass, using both wood chips and milling by-products from Swissmill.