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Identified best environmental managament practices to improve the energy performance of the retail trade sector in Europe

The retail trade sector has been identified as a target sector for the development of sectoral reference documents on best environmental management practices under the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme. This paper focuses on the important energy-related needs in retailers' stores such as for food refrigeration and lighting, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning of the building. For the definition of best environmental management practices in the European framework, frontrunner retailers have been identified as those retailers integrating energy minimization and saving measures as standard practice systematically across stores. These best performers also integrate a comprehensive monitoring system in the energy management of every store or building belonging to the company, enabling the rapid identification of energy saving opportunities. An integrative approach is needed to define how best practices should be implemented in combination to optimize energy management within stores: building aspects such as insulation of the building envelope or the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, should be optimized in combination with best options for refrigeration in food retailers. Refrigeration systems are responsible for half of the final energy use in stores and of their carbon footprint. Natural refrigerants, heat recovery from the condensation stage and covering of display cases are measures with high environmental benefits to reduce the impact of refrigeration. Finally, practices for lighting, as optimal lighting strategies, and the integration of renewable energy sources in overall zero energy building concepts can save considerable amounts of fossil energy, reduce the carbon footprint and produce significant cost-savings in the long term.