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Combined carbon and energy intensity benchmarks for sustainable retail stores

Ferreira, Ana, Pinheiro, Manuel Duarte, de Brito, Jorge, Mateus, Ricardo
Energy 2018 v.165 pp. 877-889
buildings, carbon, energy efficiency, food retailing, greenhouse gas emissions, greenhouse gases, income, refrigeration
Retail stores are amongst the building typologies with the highest carbon (CI) and energy intensities (EI). However, previous studies have only explored the EI of food and non-food retailers. This study is the first of its kind to examine the link between CI and EI. Establishing the nature of this link will allow a deeper understanding of how to decarbonize the retail sector. Here, we hypothesised whether in retail low EI correlated with low CI and how corporate revenue affected these variables. “Best practice” and “conventional practice” benchmarks were then developed to assess retail buildings' sustainability. These represent missing and highly desirable tools in retail sustainable management.Average EI and CI of food retailers were twice that of non-food retailers (EI-548 vs 238 kWh/m2/y; CI266 vs 132 kg CO₂eq/m2/y). The correlation found between EI and CI indicates that low energy consumption leads to low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. CI variability resulted mostly of energy-efficiency strategies, of the energy production process and of GHG emissions from refrigeration systems. EI variability resulted mostly from store typology, volume and usage.The proposed benchmarks help to set energy and carbon reference performance levels in retail buildings and to stimulate best sustainable practice amongst retailers.