The chains are planning to retrofit their stores

Retail giants Tesco and Marks & Spencer have pledged to invest substantial sums in retrofitting energy efficiency measures into their stores.

At the Supermarkets Conference last week, hosted by Building’s parent company UBM, both retailers admitted retrofitting was one of their “biggest challenges”. But they said they were making resources available to tackle the problem.

Both supermarkets said they had identified M&E improvements as a source of energy savings.

Munish Dutta, head of Property Plan A at Marks & Spencer, told Building the retailer was freeing up “millions” of pounds to invest in M&E across its estate.

Dutta added that the investment is likely to be channelled through the retailer’s existing M&E contractors.

Marks & Spencer is evaluating whether to fit LED lighting across all its food stores after a trial of the system at an eco-store in Sheffield.

Martin Young, Tesco’s chief architect, also said the chain has committed to overhauling its stores to make them more sustainable as part of its 5-10 year rolling retrofit program.

Tesco will use a “learn and benchmark” approach to roll out the most effective sustainable measures across its estate, he added.

The retailer is also looking closely at rolling out LED lighting, subject to successful trialling of the product indoors and outdoors.

Both retailers indicated they would aim to get construction firms on board earlier in the development process to help them meet their challenging sustainability targets.

They also indicated that they are likely to invest in energy-saving CO2-powered fridges and were looking at adding doors to them to save energy - about a third of the retailers’ energy is consumed by refrigerators, they said.

But Steve Fuller, M&S’s head of construction delivery, appeared to rule out investment in on-site renewables, telling conference delegates the sums did not add up “by miles”.