Marks and Spencer (M&S) is one of Britain’s largest retail-ers with over 700 stores in the United Kingdom and over 350 stores in 40+ countries around the world. In May 2013 M&S opened its much anticipated giant 900,000 ft distribution centre in Castle Donington, Leices-tershire. The size of the building is equivalent to 11 sta-dium sized football fields, making it one of the largest dis-tribution warehouses in the UK. The facility will handle all of M&S’s online orders, processing up to two million items a week and employing 1,200 people. It is impressive to note that the facility is also carbon neu-tral. More impressively, the building is home to Europe’s largest SolarWall® system, which was an essential ele-ment of designing a cost-effective carbon neutral building of that size.
The SolarWall® air heating system is 4,330 m2 (46,000ft2) and will heat and ventilate this enormous building using solar energy, instead of fossil fuels. The SolarWall system is divided into 4 sections positioned between the tower stairs, each consisting of 3 different colors; Alaska Grey, Anthracite and M&S Green. In total, the SolarWall system is equivalent to the size of 16 tennis courts.
The M&S SolarWall system is expected to provide energy savings of 1.1GWh. This is a staggering amount of re-newable energy to be generated on-site from one technol-ogy, and to provide a basis for comparison, is equivalent to the total energy used for two typical M&S stores. This will result in the elimination of over 250 tons of CO2 each year.
The SolarWall technology successfully achieved both environmental and economic requirements; meaning that its impressive renewable energy production and corre-sponding GHG emissions reductions were accomplished at a reasonable cost that met ROI requirements. The sys-tem is also building-integrated, and was designed to be an attractive addition to the south façade.
“There’s a compelling case for renewable energy, both from a business and environmental point of view, when we build large, out-of-town sites….here at Castle Doning- ton the Solar Wall was the best possible option with such a large, south facing wall. The technology offers one of the fastest returns on investment of any solar technology currently available.” –
Roger Platt, Marks & Spencer Project Manager at Castle Donington