Costa plans four more ‘zero-energy’ coffee shops

Whitbread’s energy and environment manager for Costa, Oliver Rosevear, revealed that plans are already afoot to construct four more operational 'eco-pod' cafés. Depending on a review of the pilot store, which took just 13 weeks to build, the following eco-pod stores could be constructed under the same 'zero-energy' design, whereby the energy produced is equal to or greater than the energy consumed. Rosevear could not confirm exactly where the new eco-pod stores will be located.

“A lot of people looked at our eco pod as a potential one-off and some asked ‘are you ever going to build one again?’ But, because the business case is there, we’re building four new eco-pods under the same design,” Rosevear said.

“We’re coming to the anniversary of the first eco-pod opening, and we’ve got the results of a performance review coming in. But the ongoing data shows that it is operating in line with how we expected it to. We’ve seen the benefits and, therefore, it makes operational and financial sense to introduce more to the market.”

The eco-pod concept achieves ‘zero-energy’ – even through the winter months - through the likes of passive ventilation systems, LED retrofitting, 'smart' coffee machines and a more holistic management approach to enable these various technologies to interact. The first eco-pod in Telford, which featured a 28KW solar array on its roof, used FSC certified timber to reduce the carbon footprint of the building, and a super-insulated façade and underfloor heating system to boost efficiency.

“We looked into removing heat from the back end of the store and found that an air-source heat pump would not only remove this heat, but also emit cooler air and generate water for us to recirculate,” Rosevear explained. “This has improved the efficiency of the refrigerators in the back as a result. We don’t just look at things in situ, instead we actually think about how the equipment interacts. We have to look at how the whole store works rather than individual concepts.”

With scientists claiming that waste coffee beans could be a “simple and cheap alternative” for methane storage, and Network Rail teaming up with coffee cleantech firm bio-bean to trial this initiative, Rosevear revealed that there is a possibility that trials of a similar ilk could be on the horizon for Costa in the future.

“Coffee bean biofuel is definitely something we are considering,” he said. “I can’t really say much more than that but, as part of our waste management solutions, it’s something we’re looking into.”

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