To address the growing challenges of energy demand, rising costs and food loss, Danish energy technology company Danfoss has unveiled its new flagship supermarket, the Smart Store, in Nordborg, Denmark. The Smart Store aims to revolutionise the way supermarkets operate in the 21st century using innovative technology and energy-efficient solutions.

Food waste alone accounts for up to 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, ranking as the third-largest emitter after the US and China, noted Danfoss in a press release.

The Smart Store is expected to be approximately 50% more energy efficient than a typical supermarket equipped with a first-generation CO₂ refrigeration system and lacking dedicated energy efficiency solutions. It is also projected to achieve 20–30% higher efficiency than a comparable local store already equipped with multiple energy-saving measures.

The inaugural energy-efficient supermarket serves not only as a functioning retail space but also as a development centre for testing and showcasing new technologies. Its design and features are intended to offer inspiration for food retailers worldwide, particularly in the face of mounting energy costs, emissions and food losses.

“It is possible to build a climate-friendly and super-efficient facility, using world-class heating and cooling technology,” said Jürgen Fischer, president of Danfoss climate solutions, in a press statement. “Our new Smart Store proves that the future is now.”

Supermarkets and food retail stores are major energy consumers, and with slim average profit margins of just 1.7%, every operating cost comes under scrutiny, noted Danfoss. However, energy expenditure presents an area where significant savings can be achieved with relatively low investments and favourable payback periods. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, each US dollar in energy savings is equivalent to increasing sales by $59.

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The Smart Store showcases a range of energy-saving solutions that deliver significant savings with an average payback period of 3–4 years. The energy-efficient supermarket primarily relies on solar power, with 100kW solar panels installed on its roof, generating green energy to support its operations. The Smart Store also uses advanced heat recovery units to capture and reuse excess heat, resulting in an anticipated reduction of up to 90% in supermarket heating costs. This waste heat is repurposed to warm the store and produce hot water. Any surplus heat is shared with the neighbouring town’s residents through a district heating network.

The supermarket incorporates other initiatives such as refrigerator and freezer case doors, which can save approximately one-third of energy use. Additionally, the Smart Store utilises LED lighting, consuming up to 85% less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. Automation and monitoring systems further contribute to energy efficiency.