In the recent period, energy saving and sustainability, which significantly influence our lives, have understandably become even more prominent. This is nothing new for Lidl Hungary: i.e. it did not take steps because of the current energy crisis, but has been pushing down the maintenance costs of its stores for years with new and new measures. One of the key – and most visible – areas is lighting: the department store chain has replaced the lighting in its stores and logistics centers with LEDs, and is also replacing the lighting of all the refrigerators with LED lighting, with which it achieves significant savings. However, it does not end here, in the department stores, an intelligent building management system “monitors” energy consumption, i.e. it prevents waste. The question arises as to what this means in practice: the lights of the stores and the parking lots connected to them are automatically switched off as soon as the last customer leaves the store. And when the last employee leaves the store, the system switches off all the lights. The smart building monitoring system in question is also responsible for ensuring that the advertising lights do not operate unnecessarily, only during opening hours.
In addition to lighting, the company also strives for energy efficiency with various mechanical engineering solutions. A key issue is, for example, the heating and cooling system of the shops, which also works with modern solutions. The ventilation systems work exclusively through heat exchangers, which means that the fresh outside air to be blown in is heated or cooled with the blown air through the heat exchanger. In the case of newer stores, so-called VRV cooling and heating devices are used, creating different heat zones depending on the functions.
The “two-door” solution visible to all customers means additional energy savings, i.e. a two-stage photocell door works at the entrances and exits. This way, when you open the door in winter, the heat does not escape from the store, or it stops the heat outside in the summer heat. In addition to all this, in the logistics centers and department stores, the waste heat from technological cooling is recirculated to heat the halls with a heat recovery device. The number of shops equipped with solar panels is also constantly increasing. In order to reduce energy consumption, the defrosting of freezers in stores is continuously scheduled, and unused cold rooms in store warehouses are always switched off. The company installs electric consumption meters – sub-meters – in stores in order to prevent unnecessary electricity consumption by continuously monitoring and checking consumption.
The above measures to reduce electricity consumption have a positive effect due to two aspects: on the one hand, they reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from the company’s own activities, thereby protecting the environment, and on the other hand, in addition to increasing energy prices, they also reduce expenses. This is extremely important from the point of view that by reducing costs, the supermarket chain will continue to strive to offer its products to its customers at the best possible price in the future.
Although indirectly, sustainability, energy saving and the already mentioned pursuit of customer-friendly prices also appear when Lidl tries to cooperate with as many Hungarian producers and suppliers as possible. The goal is to increase the proportion of Hungarian products offered in Lidl stores in Hungary. The question may arise, what does this have to do with energy saving. The answer is simple: Hungarian products are closer to the logistics centers of the supermarket chain and from there to the stores, so not only the cost of transportation, but also the impact on the environment can be reduced, and this also has an impact on prices.
In 2013, the company created the “Lidl for Hungarian suppliers” program with the aim of working with as many Hungarian suppliers as possible and putting as many Hungarian products on store shelves as possible. In recent years, the supermarket chain has started additional training courses for suppliers – the “Lidl Academy” and the “Lidl Academy Plusz” – in order to share with the participants all the knowledge, information and experience that is essential for them to successfully overcome the obstacles and enter the among the company’s supplier partners. A partner like Lidl, which reaches millions of customers in nearly two hundred stores nationwide, is crucial for domestic suppliers. The success of the program is clear, especially based on the numbers below. On the one hand, more than 450 Hungarian businesses already cooperate with Lidl. On the other hand, the number of those products and product groups is constantly increasing – be it, for example, eggs, fresh poultry or pork, or honey –, where the proportion of Hungarian suppliers is already 100 percent. Lidl’s goal is therefore still to support and strengthen Hungarian small and medium-sized companies, as well as to contribute to the competitiveness of the domestic economy.
The article was created as part of the content cooperation between Index and Lidl Hungary.
(Cover photo: Lidl)