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Most of the energy used by Coles relates to refrigeration, lighting and climate control in our stores. Despite growing our store network, our carbon emissions have been declining over the past five years due to a range of energy saving initiatives.


Reducing energy use

Our major areas of energy use are refrigeration, lighting and climate control for our stores. We’re investing in the latest technology to minimise our impact on the environment.

Here’s how we’re doing it...

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  • Night blinds: To save energy consumed outside of trading hours, night blinds are installed on open refrigeration cases in all of our stores;
  • Anti-Condensate heater controls: By installing anti-condensate heater controls on our glass door freezers, means we can run more energy efficient chilled food sections;
  • Natural refrigerant: Coles has been trialling the use of natural refrigerant systems in new stores which reduces greenhouse gas emissions expelled for refrigeration;
  • Cool room controllers: In more than 600 stores, controllers have been installed to optimise the way our cool rooms defrost ice build-up. This, in turn, reduces the amount of energy required to maintain the temperature of chilled food storage;
  • Refrigeration optimisation: Coles is currently trialling technologies to improve the energy efficiency of refrigeration systems in existing stores. This includes variable speed drive technology, adaptive controls and condenser heat rejection improvement.

Climate Control

  • Outside air optimisation: Better management of fresh air used for air-conditioning systems will reduce energy consumption and provide better store temperature and humidity conditions for more than 60 stores.


  • LED lighting and automated lights: Energy-efficient LED lighting has been installed at more than 200 new and existing stores. The adoption of automated lighting controls further reduces the lighting used by our stores outside of trading hours.



Solar Power

A new supermarket at Coburg North will be Coles’ first partly solar-powered supermarket in Victoria, with 399 solar panels installed on the roof to generate up to 100 Kilowatts of power. Coles is also trialling the use of solar power by adding panels to the roof of an older supermarket at Budgewoi in NSW to confirm that solar power can be integrated with older electrical infrastructure without disrupting store operations.

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Reducing energy use for transport

Reduction of vehicle movements, and kilometres driven are some of the ways we aim to reduce overall carbon emissions in Coles’ supply chain.

  • Reusable plastic crates: Removes the need for cardboard and polystyrene. In 2014 we issued more than 54 million reusable plastic crates to help minimise landfill.
  • Smarter routing system: More efficient vehicle utilisation means fewer vehicles on the road, reducing the kilometres driven each year.
  • Domestic Transport: Coles has reduced the number of vehicle movements by increased consolidation of domestic line-haul transport and moving more stock via rail.
  • International Logistics: Smarter planning end-to-end with our international suppliers equates to reduced domestic transport by ensuring the right quantities of product is delivered directly to the correct ports.

Coles Hallam in Victoria, the first Green Star rated supermarket in Australia.

Coles was proud to be awarded the first Green Star rating for an Australian supermarket in 2015. Coles Hallam in Melbourne’s south east was awarded a 4 Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). Presently Coles Hallam uses 20 per cent less energy than an equivalent supermarket of its size. The air-conditioning and refrigeration plants work together, and the air-conditioning automatically adjusts based on the number of people in the store. The store uses natural refrigerant, combined cooling for more efficient temperature control, LED lighting and has extra insulation in the ceiling.

“Coles was determined to develop a ‘supermarket of the future’ – and in doing so, has set a new benchmark for sustainable supermarket design in Australia”

Romilly Madew, Chief Executive Officer, GBCA.

Hallam Coles