Willmott Dixon is to create a Morrisons supermarket with several retail firsts that could become standard practice as the sector looks to cut running costs by reducing reliance on fossil fuel energy.

The £9.5 million 4,162 m area supermarket in Peterborough will be the first in Europe to be entirely lit by LED lighting, which has very low energy consumption and is also virtually maintenance free for the first 50,000 hours, therefore reducing costs involved with the frequent replacement of lights.

It will also be one of the first supermarkets where the refrigeration system does not contain any energy intensive Hydroflorocarbons; instead it will use Hydrocarbons only. While this technology has been partly adopted in some retail facilities, the Peterborough store will be the first Morrisons to adopt this throughout the store, following extensive testing at its Arctic Circle research and development premises in Hereford and a trial at the Telford store.

This Morrisons will also have no ceiling so it can accommodate north-facing roof windows that will flood the store with natural daylight, while photo-voltaic panels will be installed to the south-facing roof. Added to this will be a Solar Wall system on the south side cladding that heats up air in voids within the cladding and then draws it into the building’s Heating and Ventilation system to reduce the amount of fossil fuel energy required.

Other features at the ‘green’ store of the future include electric car charging points and rainwater harvesting for the toilet flushing system, enabling it to become one of only a select few retail facilities to achieve a BREEAM rating of excellent.

The store will complete in September before opening to the public in October following an internal fit-out. Willmott Dixon is working with architect Davis Weatherill Partnership in conjunction with M&E consultant NG Bailey and refrigeration partner Honeywell, who are both playing a significant role in developing these new systems. Willmott Dixon’s in-house low carbon brand Re-Thinking provided support in targeting BREEAM excellent and helped Davis Weatherill Partnership with the selection of materials.

Clive Pople, Willmott Dixon’s retail director said, “This will be a low carbon store the entire retail industry will aim to replicate as they look to adopt new ways to reduce reliance on expensive energy and cut running costs. We will use our learning here to be a strategic partner for customers like Morrisons as we help them meet the challenges created by the UK’s ongoing transformation to a low carbon economy.”

It’s also the latest Morrisons project for Willmott Dixon, which in the coming months will also begin the extensions of current Morrison stores in St Andrews, Scotland and Cardiff.