COSTA Brews Up Innovative Eco-Pod

costa ecopod

Costa, the UK’s favourite coffee shop, opened a groundbreaking new ‘Eco Pod’ store at Wrekin Retail Park on Saturday 4th April. With the latest in environmentally-friendly building design and packed full of innovative energy saving technologies, the Eco Pod will be the first ‘zero energy’ coffee shop building in the UK.

Challenges & Actions

Costa has developed the cutting-edge building design and fit out in partnership with Hammerson, the retail property specialist, which owns the retail park and facilitated the delivery of the new concept store.  Costa will lease the building.

The new Eco Pod will provide all of the irresistible quality food and beverage menu choices available in ‘regular’ Costa coffee shops but, crucially, all of this will happen inside a ‘zero energy’ building.

‘Zero energy’ is achieved through passive ventilation and innovative construction techniques which mean that the energy required to heat and cool the building is minimised. Also, the low amount of energy that is required for building temperature control will come from solar PV cells embedded in the specially curved roof, balancing out overall.

The key design features that make all the difference include:

  1. A special timber frame constructed using FSC sourced timber as an alternative to a traditional steel frame, reducing the embodied carbon footprint of the building
  2. A super-insulated facade using soft wood with excellent energy retention properties (keeping more heat in during the winter and also helping to keep the interior cool in summer)
  3. Intelligent orientation of the building to achieve optimum levels of sun and shade, impacting on overall energy requirements for heating and cooling
  4. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the roof
  5. An under-floor heating system and passive ventilation

The building design features are what give the coffee shop its overall ‘zero energy’ score.  The actual internal operating equipment – including espresso machines, Panini grills and dishwasher equipment – all use power in a conventional way.

Lessons & Results

The building took 13 weeks to build and measures 150 sq m.  It has seating for approximately 58 people inside and 20 outside.

Jim Slater, Managing Director of Costa UK and Ireland, said:

This is an exciting first for coffee shop and retail design here in the UK and has the potential to transform not just how we build new stores at Costa but the industry far more widely.  We wanted to explore new ways to serve quality coffee to our customers while managing our environmental footprint as responsibly as we can. Through a successful partnership with Hammerson, we have developed an outstanding new type of test bed building design which really does have the potential to make a massive difference if rolled out more widely.”

Tom Cochrane, Asset Manager at Hammerson, said:

The opening of the Costa Eco Pod at Wrekin Retail Park is a significant achievement for our team and clearly demonstrates that as a business, Hammerson is at the forefront of consumer awareness of supply chain ethics and environmental impacts. By working collaboratively, we have been able to provide Costa with an entirely new and innovative concept store, as well as a UK first. Using this as a blueprint for low carbon and sustainable design we hope to support, where possible, other retailers in creating truly sustainable assets.”

Costa developed the initiative with Hammerson to explore ways to make building, operating and maintaining a coffee shop as sustainable and low-energy as possible.

Costa operates more than 1,800 coffee shops across the UK.  It is anticipated that lessons learned from the Eco Pod test bed at Telford will be incorporated into future new build stores, helping to drive down energy consumption across the business.

Costa is part of Whitbread plc which is recognised as one of the most progressive and innovative UK companies for managing sustainability.  It has been endorsed by and won awards from many of the UK’s leading environmental organisations including The Carbon Trust, The Green Building Council, Business in the Community, and the Sustainability Leaders Awards.

More information on Whitbread’s sustainability programme, Good Together, is available here

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