Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets is one of the newest trends in supermarkets with state-of-the-art refrigeration technology in both the stores and trucks.

Contractors and technicians who work on supermarket refrigeration equipment will want to take note of the opening of potentially more than 50 Tesco Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets in California, Arizona and Nevada.

For they could well signal what could be trends in store size, as well as both stationary and transport refrigeration - not to mention what it takes to build a store in a pending age of more governmental regulation. The fall of 2007 saw the first wave of store openings in the United States of a supermarket chain based in the United Kingdom that has over 2,800 stores in 12 countries.

“Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is in a unique position to deliver fresh, affordable, high-quality food into the neighborhoods in which we operate and to do so safely and in the best interest of the environment,” said Tim Mason, CEO of Fresh & Easy.

At roughly 10,000 square feet, the markets will be smaller than typical supermarkets that are normally about 30,000 square feet and much smaller than the 150,000-square-foot megamarkets. The idea, said company officials, is to provide for faster, easier shopping while still maintaining variety. The stores will have private label and brand name products and include fresh prepared meals. Deliveries are said to be made to each store daily to better ensure freshness.

Some aspects of the stores include:

• Skylights on new buildings with overhead lighting that dims automatically.

• Increased insulation, reducing heating and cooling loads.

• Night shades on refrigeration cases to keep cool air from escaping.

• Secondary loops on refrigeration cases that capture and reuse cool air.

• LED lighting on external signage and freezer cases.

• A distribution center in Riverside, Calif., also has a large solar roof installation.

Part of the equation is transport refrigeration that uses a hybrid refrigeration vector unit, which minimizes the amount of diesel used to cool and transport store products. All trailers have automatic refrigeration shut off when optimum temperature is reached inside the cooling chamber as well as complete engine shut off once parked at the stores, according to a statement from the company.

Electrical standby technology bypasses the need to use diesel fuel to run refrigeration on the trailers while they are parked at distribution centers. “As a new company in the U.S., we have had the opportunity to work with leaders in green technology to create from the ground up this entire fleet of aerodynamic, fuel-efficient and neighbor-conscious trailers,” said Mason.

Regarding environmental considerations, officials said buildings would be designed and constructed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

“The LEED program streamlines the certification process for companies that are building multiple but similar facilities and want to do this in an environmentally responsible manner while still growing at the speed and scale necessary in today’s business market,” said Doug Gatlin, director of LEED National Accounts.

Tesco has voluntarily joined the California Climate Action Registry, designed to recognize greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects.

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Publication date:12/03/2007