IKEA UK Invests In Renewable Energy

IKEA UK wind farm in Huntly, Aberdeenshire
IKEA UK wind farm in Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

IKEA UK is undertaking two new major initiatives that will help the home furnishings company reduce its dependence on fossil fuels, offset its carbon emissions, and create more renewable energy for its operations. The projects include the purchase of a wind farm located in North Scotland, as well as the installation and operation of rooftop solar photovoltaic networks, enabling the company to offset on average more than 10,500 tonnes of CO2 per year.

These efforts form part of the company’s global ‘IKEA Goes Renewable’ project which aims to ensure that all IKEA operations across the world will use 100% renewable energy in the long-term.

IKEA UK has invested in a 12.3 megawatt wind farm in Huntly, Aberdeenshire in North Scotland. The wind farm consists of seven turbines, each generating 1.75MW, producing a combined 24,700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. This is equivalent to the electricity consumption of five IKEA stores, or 30% of the company’s total electricity consumption in the UK.

This investment is IKEA UK’s first step in this area, and marks a further move to secure access to renewable energy production for the IKEA Group. The acquisition has increased the total number of wind turbines owned by the IKEA Group to 67.

John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK commented, “The new IKEA wind farm is transforming words into action in a powerful way. It’s part of IKEA’s 100% renewable electricity plan that should be a beacon for other companies to follow. IKEA are providing a powerful voice to those who believe a better energy future for the world will come through energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy. Together, governments, organisations and individuals can change the way the world generates and uses energy.”

The company is also investing close to £4 million in fitting over 39,000 photovoltaic (solar) panels to the rooftops of 10 IKEA stores to turn sunshine into electricity. This will provide on average 5% of each store’s electricity needs, or almost enough energy to power around half of one of the company’s 18 UK based stores with solar energy alone.

IKEA Southampton solar panels
IKEA Southampton solar panels.

IKEA UK aims for all installation work to be complete by March 2012. In total, 31,000m2 of roof space will be covered by solar panels, which will generate around 1,600,000 kWh per year, enough to power 492 homes. Built to operate effectively for 25 years, it is anticipated that the solar panels will reduce IKEA UK’s CO2 consumption on average by 662 tonnes per year during this first 25 years of the installations’ operation.

The solar panel initiative follows news that installing energy efficient measures has helped the home furnishings company reduce energy consumption by 19%. Since 2005 the company has opened six new stores with only a 10% increase in combined energy use.

Commenting on both initiatives, Steve Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer, IKEA Group noted, “Taking care of people and the environment is integral to how we do business, so we are continually working to significantly reduce our carbon footprint from all parts of our operations, while helping to reduce CO2 emissions in society. We believe that our wind farm and solar panel initiatives mark a major milestone in our ambition to source 100% renewable energy. We aim for all IKEA UK buildings to be fitted with solar panels in the long-term. As well as reducing our impact on the environment, these initiatives come with a strong financial incentive as consuming less energy means we spend less money, which helps us lower the prices on our products.”

Howard continued, “As part of our global ‘IKEA Goes Renewable’ programme, we are committed to heavily investing in making IKEA buildings more energy efficient and use more renewable energy. For example, our most recently built UK based stores in Coventry, Southampton and Dublin have been designed to incorporate measures that will have a major impact on these areas, including geothermal heating and cooling systems, biomass boilers and improved insulation. Following a thorough audit of all our existing buildings in the UK, we have also created action plans for each, which includes retro-fit measures to improve energy efficiency.”

Solar panels have been fitted at the IKEA Milton Keynes, Edmonton, Southampton, and Warrington stores. These solar panel installations are now fully operational.

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