The Smart Store is a ‘live’ test centre for energy efficiency technology in supermarkets.

With the world population predicted to reach 10 billion by 20501, investments in sustainable food retail and storage are urgently needed.

 Pressure is growing on energy demand and costs, and the need to cut food waste. In fact, if food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter behind the US and China, contributing to up to 10% of the world’s greenhouse gases.2

Engineering tech company Danfoss have opened the Smart Store, in Nordborg, Denmark, which aims to be around 50% more energy efficient than a typical supermarket (with a first-generation CO2 refrigeration system and no energy efficiency solutions). It is also expected to be approximately 20-30% more efficient than an equivalent local store already fitted with multiple energy efficiency solutions.3

Supermarkets and retail food stores are big energy consumers. For example, supermarkets account for around 3% of total electricity used in industrialised countries, and refrigeration systems use by far the highest share of total energy consumed in them.

 The average profit margin for a large food retailer is just 1.7%, which puts every operating cost under scrutiny. Energy is an area where significant savings can be achieved with relatively low investment and good payback times. In fact, the US EPA estimates that one US dollar (EUR 0.90) in energy savings is equivalent to increasing sales by US$59 (EUR 54).4

Danfoss claims its ‘Smart Store’ solutions show how significant savings can be achieved with a typical payback time of 3-4 years.

Solar power is the supermarket’s primary energy source with 100 kW solar panels on the roof, while heat capture and reuse are expected to cut heating costs by 90%.

As excess heat is the world’s largest untapped source of energy, the ‘Smart Store’ is fitted with state-of-the-art heat recovery units, designed to recover waste heat from the refrigeration systems. The recovered heat is recycled to heat up the store and produce domestic hot water, with additional heat shared with local residents through a district energy network.

Other initiatives such as doors on refrigerator and freezer cases will save around a third on energy use5, while LED lighting uses up to 85% less electricity than incandescent bulbs.6 Automation and monitoring of the ‘Smart Store’ adds another layer of energy saving.

Jürgen Fischer, President of Danfoss Climate Solutions, said: “Danfoss has reimagined what food retail stores could look like in the 21st century. But the new Smart Store supermarket is only the beginning. Because it will also serve as an Application Development Centre – a ‘live’ testing site for new technologies which we hope will inspire food retailers around the world to move towards zero emissions supermarkets, while making economic sense.”

IEA (2021) Net Zero by 2050.

WWF-UK (2021) Driven to Waste: The Global Impact of Food Loss and Waste on Farms.

Calculations from Danfoss’ applications specialists based on two reference stores: COOP Otterup, Denmark and COOP Ulkebøl, Denmark.

US Environmental Protection Agency – ENERGY STAR. Supermarkets: An overview of energy use and energy efficiency opportunities, p. 1

Environmental Investigation Agency UK (2017). Chilling Facts VII: Are Europe’s supermarkets ready to quit HFCs?, p. 20.

Beeco (2022). Are LED Light Bulbs Energy-Efficient? Published online at