Most stores find themselves in constant transformation, which allows them to interpret social changes on time and apply innovative solutions to meet the demands of the citizens. That is why more and more companies are committed to the environment every day.

On one hand, big brands assimilate sustainability criteria not only into their products but also into their points of sale, thus strengthening their Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility policies. On the other hand, small businesses fulfil their activity in a sustainable way, which usually reverts to benefits and advantages for the self-employed and SMEs. These are the so-called Eco-stores or eco-efficient stores.

The eco-efficient store concept is quite simple: it aims to reduce the impact on the environment by acting upon every process of the business activity, starting with design, building, recycling, waste management and store certification and use.

Thanks to this type of policy, stores are more energy efficient, they minimise their residues and get to decrease environmental impact. Moreover, they succeed in reducing operating costs, since the water and energy use is also smaller.

We are able to find some examples of eco-efficient stores at Spanish supermarkets such as Mercadona, Consum or most stores owned by the Inditex Group. But which are the main characteristics of this kind of stores?

Their main quality is the appliance of a series of energy conservation measures, as for air conditioning, lighting and equipment. For instance:

  • Automatic doors: entry doors aim to divide the air-conditioned area (in-store) and the exterior. By means of this implementation, energy conservation can be achieved, as well as the client’s comfort when coming into the store. On the other hand, inside the store, partitioning automatic doors get to separate the store itself, needing to be kept at constant temperature, from the non-air-conditioned area (warehouse).
  • Lobby: presence of lobbies in store entrances with automatic glass doors. This avoids drafts and outside temperature exchange.
  • Timers and automatic shutdowns: air-conditioning systems, water heaters, blower fans and control of the store lighting.
  • In-store lighting: power reduction of the store general lighting.
  • Presence sensors: installation of lighting automatic control devices at interior areas, by means of presence sensors.

Another main characteristic of eco-efficient stores is their effort to make employees and clients aware of the benefits of efficient energy use. For that purpose, it is common to draft a good practice manual aimed at raising awareness among the employees and promoting the responsible usage of equipment in facilities.

Nevertheless, ensuring that these measures remain continuous is as important as applying them. These companies carry out appropriate control and management throughout the whole life of the installation.

Many are the possibilities of turning our business into a more respectful place towards the natural environment. The tendency to a green economy is already unstoppable. As a matter of fact, companies will get judgments in the future not only relating the quality of their products and services, but also dealing with their way of interacting within the community and in relation with the natural environment. Join the change!