Designing eco-sustainable stores

To Autogrill innovating stores means targeting process improvement and energy efficiency in the buildings in which it operates, as well as pursuing ongoing research on new technologies that include the use of energy from renewable sources, like geothermal and photovoltaic energy, as well as the use of natural and eco-compatible materials (glass, stone, stainless steel), ensuring easier disposal or recyclability, which also play an important role.
In addition, since the company provides services to millions of people, it is also important to design stores that always allow easy access to everyone and provide transparent communication to customers also in relation to environmental issues.

Financial variables are certainly important, but so are eco-compatibility issues, because failed integration with the environment will definitely have strongly negative effects on the entire planet in the long run.

When it comes to building or restyling an existing store, there are several complex factors to consider: first, the level of integration in the ecosystem, defined through an analysis of the different stages in the life cycle of the building, the materials and the equipment. For this reason, it is necessary to plan continuous studies and analyses to define structures (light design, air conditioning, water systems, furniture, equipment, fittings) with the collaboration of authorities and organizations, suppliers, commercial partners and expert designers, also in relation to different contexts — airports, highways, railway stations or shopping malls — where the Group operates.

Food & Beverage

In line with the Roadmap objectives, the Group is defining its construction specifications aimed at reducing the consumption of energy and water and targeting the attainment of environmental certifications.

In Italy, the Villoresi Est store was inaugurated at the beginning of 2013. The store was developed in compliance with the energy efficiency and carbon footprint standards set out in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Protocol and the principles of Design For All and Dasa Rägister, focused on universal access to locations (for more details see “focus story”)

In Italy there are other examples of excellence built in the last years: the 100% green store in Mensa di Ravenna, certified as Energy Class A; the two stores of Viverone Est and Ovest (on the A5 highway connecting Ivrea to Santhià) both equipped with geothermal plants, a solution that cuts energy consumption by almost 30% compared to traditional stores; the Dorno and Brembo stores, where the installation of methane-fired trigeneration plants for the cogeneration of thermal and refrigeration energy resulted in reductions of 131.7 kg and 115.7 kg of CO2 emissions in 2012; the Montefeltro ovest store, near Riccione, certified as Energy Class B, whose design optimized the investment by square meter, particularly in relation to the climate control system, which concentrates 75% of the total dispersion.
Last but not least, 150 stores in Italy already feature a centralized energy management system (connected to both equipment and systems), enabling corrective actions intended to improve and control energy consumption and efficiency.

In the United States, the Delaware Welcome Center celebrated two years in operation since its reopening and it is still HMSHost sustainability flagship. It extends over a surface of 4,000 sq m and was designed and built in accordance with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles, recycling and re-using 75% of the material derived from the demolition of the pre-existing building. The store optimizes the use of natural sunlight, significantly cutting energy consumption. Moreover, in order to better insulate the building, the roof was constructed with highly reflective material to avoid heat dispersion in winter. With regard to air ventilation, a geothermal plant was installed with 60 geothermal wells feeding 37 pumps distributed throughout the building. Another initiative worth mentioning is the project dedicated to truck drivers, designed in collaboration with CabAire (a company supplying electronic components for trucks). In the parking area of the infrastructure, there are now 50 stations supplying electricity for trucks to feed air conditioning and heating without keeping the motor on. The Delaware Welcome Center also features stations for recharging electric vehicles.

Leed protocol

For the recently opened stores in France, various energy efficiency technologies (insulation, shading system, natural light and low consumption light bulbs) were implemented, and plants generating energy from renewable sources (photovoltaic panels for energy generation and solar panels for hot water) were installed. Also, when investments are made in restyling a location, Autogrill takes all the necessary actions to improve energy efficiency in the building. Examples include the roof and window insulation technology used for the store located in Reims, which was made possible thanks also to the financing envisaged by the Certificats d’Economies d’Energie government program, targeting an overall reduction of the energy consumed in the store.

In Spain as well, the restyling of three stores (Segafredo and Entretapas y Vinos at the Madrid Barajas airport and the cafeteria Roldan at the Seville railway station) included the installation of a more efficient lighting system and other top notch equipment, targeting a 5% reduction in energy consumption.

Eco-sustainability also means protecting the habitat hosting the locations. For example, the Casilina Est petrol station, along the Rome-Naples A1 highway (Italy), where an ancient necropolis was unearthed, yielding important archeological finds, including an extremely rare funeral bed from the Hellenistic period, which has been put on display in a museum showcase, a terraced garden and a series of walls in crystal glass that give travelers a clear view of the archeological site.

Travel Retail & Duty-Free

As for Travel Retail, an innovative and flexible property management system was experimented while restyling stores, which enabled the Group not only to design more welcoming and greener stores, but also to enjoy considerable cost reductions and the possibility of effectively comparing consumption in different stores. The initial phase of the project envisaged the evaluation of different models applicable to the retail area of the Birmingham airport (pilot project). For this purpose, a calculation was made, combining data regarding the investment, the duration of the concession and the energy efficiency level of the solution adopted, leading to the identification of the very best design.
The selected model, adopted for the store located at the Birmingham airport and based on the efficiency of mechanical and electrical systems, yielded a 54% efficiency improvement, saving 220,300 kWh, corresponding to £27,000 on a yearly basis. Innovations also include the air recycling plant, which uses large quantities of cold air from the outside, and the installation of a new LED lighting system which, in addition to considerably reducing energy consumption, also minimizes heat generation from the light fixtures inside the store.
Considering the success of the project, the same model was later applied to two other locations: at Gatwick airport and inside the ‘Chunnel’.

As a result of these initiatives, the World Duty Free Group was awarded ‘Champion of Champions’ and ‘Champions Retail’ by the Green Organization (a non-profit organization dedicated to recognizing, rewarding and promoting good environmental practices all over the world) within the context of the annual Green Apple Award for good environmental practices, in December 2012.