Furey Smyth Group, which operates a network of eight prominent Eurospar supermarkets across Ireland, has announced that it has invested €2 million in a sustainability programme.
As part of the programme, Furey Smyth Group invested approximately €400,000 in solar panel installations across all feasible locations, along with €1.4 million in the complete overhaul of its expansive refrigeration infrastructure, which extends to over 100 units.
‘Efficient Self-Generated Electricity’
According to the independent retailing group, the solar panels now provide energy-efficient self-generated electricity to five stores, dramatically reducing the group’s reliance on carbon-intensive, grid-supplied electricity.
The new suite of ultra energy-efficient refrigeration units has significantly reduced energy consumption across Furey Smyth Group from the single-most carbon-intensive aspect of grocery retailing, it added.
To date, the group has seen a 40% decrease in energy usage, at a time when electricity prices have reached an all-time high, with that figure projected to increase further as longer daylight and increased sunshine during the summer months leads to greater solar generation output.
The project, led by Chris Furey – a director with Furey Smyth Group – was rolled out with the support of SEAI, which provided grants, and BWG Foods, through its Retailer Affinity Programme.
Early estimates forecast a six- to seven-year payback period for the investment programme.
However, increasing wholesale energy costs, along with continued efficiencies at store level, mean that that period could be reduced significantly.
Furey commented, “Recent steps taken across our retail group have greatly accelerated our journey to carbon neutrality, enhancing our sustainability credentials and reducing our exposure to increasing energy costs along the way.
“It has also instilled an enormous sense of pride across our team of 350 people, knowing that the action we are taking today will make a positive difference to our environment now, and, ultimately, the livelihoods of future generations.”
‘Biggest Sustainability Investment Programme’
The group noted that the recent move marks the single-biggest sustainability investment programme made by an independent retailing group in Ireland.
“Ultimately, we are working towards carbon neutrality, and are targeting being off-grid in the summertime, in the near term. Newer technologies are currently being developed and tested, which will facilitate complete carbon neutrality in the future, and we endeavour to embrace these solutions as they become available,” added Furey.
Furey Smyth Group operates a network of eight Eurospar supermarkets that includes Eurospar Hartstown, Eurospar Applewood, Eurospar Barnhall, Eurospar Lucan, Eurospar Kinnegad, Eurospar Newmarket-on-Fergus, Eurospar Castlecomer and Eurospar Kill.