Sustainable Building
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Beyond organic: sustainability in the supermarket

When we’re shopping and we think about sustainability, our thoughts quickly turn to the many shades of organic, green and vegan. But the supermarket itself – or rather the building, how it was built and the technical equipment – can also be an impressive testimony to the powers of sustainability, as the retail chain REWE has shown. I recently went on a store visit in the Frankfurt suburb of Praunheim and it was a chance to take a first-hand look at what green building means to the company.

In September 2016, the 50th REWE supermarket in Germany was awarded certification by the German Sustainable Building Council. REWE is trying to make a clear statement not only about climate protection, but also about its employees and customers. The company has set a goal for itself – a climate goal. By 2022, its aim is to cut its carbon footprint in half compared to 2006. So its supermarkets and the way they are built and operated clearly play an important role for REWE. There’s a lot of emission-cutting potential here. It’s not just the environment that benefits, however. Anyone who has ever visited a green-building supermarket knows what I am talking about.

In the supermarket in Praunheim, which has been awarded a DGNB Certificate with platinum, many details add up to the overall picture of sustainability – from the resource-conserving technology in use to renewable raw materials such as wood and the light-flooded architectural design. Everyone who shops here can sense the difference. And that’s even before they notice the charging station for electric bikes, the energy-efficient chiller cabinets with glass doors and the LED lights. Behind the scenes, you’ll also find high-performance heat-recovery equipment and solar panels on the roof. Also, rainwater is collected for flushing the toilets.

A symbolic handover: the last bag made of plastic at the REWE supermarket in Praunheim (Frankfurt) | Photo: REWE







The fact that the company takes its responsibility to people and the environment seriously could be seen from another event on the day, arranged specially to mark the occasion of the certificate presentation. I was invited to be one of the people signing the last ever plastic carrier bags to come down the conveyor belt in the Praunheim shop. A powerful symbol that sends a message to us all: we can achieve amazing things if we have the courage to break the mould and be different.

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