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Askew’s Foods Buys Into Energy-Saving Practices

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Askew’s uptown store in Salmon Arm uses unconventional solutions to achieve its goal of being a sustainable business

Askew Foods is a longstanding grocery store known for its commitment to quality produce, sustainable practices and doing things a little differently; and its award-winning Salmon Arm location—Askew’s Uptown—upholds that reputation.

Serious about energy saving, Askew’s Uptown thought outside the box and built the store facing away from the road. “We deliberately sited the building so that the rear faces the Trans-Canada Highway to the south in order to make the best use of light.,” says David Askew, a member of the third generation of the Askew family to own and manage Askew’s Foods. “All the natural light we get facing south means we are able to use far less energy on lighting than we would otherwise,” Askew adds.

But a south-facing glass wall is only one of many energy conservation measures Askew’s newest has taken to become more energy efficient.

“It’s one of the most advanced retail stores we’ve ever seen,” says BC Hydro key account manager Derek Curll. “It’s got all the energy-saving measures you would expect for a grocery store–energy-efficient LED lighting and night curtains for refrigeration cases, for example–but also measures we never thought we’d see in this type of application.”
The radiant in-slab heating is one of those features that are usually only installed in high-end residential construction projects. “In-floor heating is very energy-efficient and comfortable, but also expensive,” says Curll. “It shows how committed Askew’s is to sustainability.”
Furthermore, the building is dug into the site, instead of just resting on top, allowing for coolers and freezers to be located below ground and kept cool with a living roof. “You know how many things need to be kept cool or frozen in a grocery store,” says Askew. “It’s vital for us to maintain the highest standards of food quality and safety, but it’s also a major energy drain. This configuration reduces the amount of electricity we have to use to keep our coolers and freezers at the right temperature.”

The result of all these steps taken by Askew’s Uptown is an expectation to consume about 19 per cent—or about 320,000 kilowatt hours—less electricity per year than a conventionally built supermarket. That’s enough energy to power 29 homes for a whole year.

Beyond all the savings in electrical energy, the gas boilers
 Askew’s installed in the new Uptown store are 96 per cent efficient, and use about 65 per cent less natural gas than standard boilers.
It’s clear that Askew’s is committed to sustainability, but it couldn’t have implemented all these energy-conservation measures without having signed up for BC Hydro’s New Construction Program, and going through an extensive energy-modeling study to determine the best measures for the site.

“We would not have gone as far as we did in this store without the incentives offered by BC Hydro to install the energy-saving measures and products identified through the energy modeling,” says Askew. “We appreciate any help to offset the substantial extra up-front capital costs
to make advanced energy efficiency part of the building.”
With the BC Hydro incentives, the store’s design team was able to include:
·  windows that open for natural ventilation
·  increased wall and roof insulation and high-performance glazing
·  exterior and interior lighting controls to ensure electric lighting is used only when and where needed
·  an advanced heat recovery system that uses waste heat from the store’s extensive refrigeration system to heat the store in winter and to pre-heat hot water all year round.

All the work has been worth it not just from a cost-savings perspective, but it gives customers the quality experience Askew’s always aims to delivers at all its stores.
“A lot of people ask about the store,” says Askew. “They really like all the natural light and the 100 per cent fresh air. They tell us it’s an attractive and pleasant place to shop. In fact, a group of people from Kelowna recently drove down to Salmon Arm just to see it for themselves!”
To find out more about energy modeling and BC Hydro’s New Construction Program, visit or call 1 866 522 4713.


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