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Chetwood to break retail mould

Sainsbury's pioneering, ultra-environmentally-friendly Greenwich peninsula store is on course for completion this autumn amidst a series of other nationally-important Millennial developments in the area.

The store, designed by Chetwood Associates, will serve the new 1,300 home millennium village by Ralph Erskine and Hunt Thompson, and will sit just down from the new north Greenwich underground, when it is completed in late September. Commissioned by English Partnerships, Chetwood's store has a sales area of 33,500m2, a bakery, delicatessen, restaurant and a 550-space car park but aims to lead the world in design and energy efficiency. Its main energy aim is to cut the consumption of an average store by 50 per cent. To do this its key design features include: passive ventilation; underfloor heating via energy reclaimed from refrigeration systems; landscaped earth mounds to insulate the store from heat and cold; reinforced concrete walls to keep the store cool in summer, warm in winter and wind turbines and solar panels to illuminate store signs at night. Chetwood has also designed the scheme to use underground water to supply refrigeration systems and recycle rain water from the service yard to irrigate the landscaped area. Normally, heat from the refrigeration units in supermarkets is released into the sales area, resulting in temperatures between 40 and 50degreesC. At Greenwich, however this heat will go into water to be circulated in the underfloor pipes. Ventilation comes not from air conditioning traditionally pumped downwards onto the sales area but from ground level, through ducts in the floor, supplying warm or cold air through grills in shelving and cabinets. Energy spent on lighting is saved by using as much natural light as possible through roof windows, a glazed entrance and through the use of shelving mounted lights. Finally, the landscape strategy aims to maximise diversity and features a natural reed bed system cleansing run-off water from the service yard into a lagoon. This will be colonised by selected animals and plants, and, says Sainsbury's, will become a visitor attraction in its own right.

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