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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Home Improvement Giant To Spend Millions On Renewables

See this story as well on this week's show update.  Will Home Depot and Lowe's, as Walmart has done, do the same or fall behind in the race to reduce and fix their energy costs?

European home improvement company Kingfisher says it will spend £50 million (around $73 million U.S.) on renewable energy in order to reduce its mains grid electricity consumption by 10% in just two years.

Technologies to be used will predominantly be solar panels; but also air source heat pumps, combined solar thermal with gas absorption pumps, combined heat and power boilers and new fuel cell generation.

The decision to make such a large investment was the result of the performance of a solar power system installed at Screwfix’s head office and contact centre in Yeovil. The centre is now sourcing more than a third of its power from the solar array.

“This renewables investment is part of our Net Positive journey to transform our business to be a force for good,” said Richard Gillies, Sustainability Director for Kingfisher.

"There’s plenty more we can do but business needs stability and certainty to make these types of long-term investment decisions.”

Kingfisher’s Net Positive program (PDF) has an ultimate goal for every store to be zero carbon or generate more energy than it uses. The company has already reduced its property portfolio’s energy intensity by 17% since 2010/11 – ahead of its 2016 milestone. Kingfisher has a target of decreasing energy consumption by 45% by 2020 and a 25% reduction of its absolute CO2 emissions by the same year.

Kingfisher’s renewables commitment is a bit of good news for the UK solar industry; which has been in turmoil since a government announcement regarding the slashing of solar feed in tariffs. The effects have been dramatic – a recent survey of 204 solar companies by the Solar Trade Association indicates 576 people have already lost their jobs, with an additional 1,600 on notice for next year if the cuts go ahead.

Kingfisher plc operates nearly 1,200 stores in 10 countries in Europe. Screwfix, one of the company’s five brands, is the UK’s largest direct and online supplier of trade tools, accessories and hardware products.

The company was one of  39 to sign up to the “French Business Climate Pledge” in the lead-up to the COP21 climate talks in Paris.
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