The store’s planned revamp is a major boost for the popular shopping destination, with the investment demonstrating M&S’s commitment to the high street.
The most striking development to the store will be a 167 square metre green wall, constructed from nearly 16,000 individual plants. The wall will not only be a beautiful visual for the high street, but will also attract wildlife, providing a habitat for birds and insects.
Other eco-friendly improvements set to be made include a heat reclaim system that will improve energy efficiency and customer comfort. Excess heat will be captured and re-distributed through the store, with heat pumps warming the feet of customers eating in the deli and the refrigerated aisles in the Food Hall.
These elements, along with intelligent door sensors and LED fridge lighting, are set to improve M&S Newcastle’s energy efficiency by 20%.
Improvements to M&S Newcastle follow on from the refit of four Simply Food site last year. It’s the first large store in an ongoing programme to refit Plan A sustainable features to M&S’s existing stores.
Plan A is M&S’s eco and ethical programme to become the world’s most sustainable retailer.
Nikki McKidd, Store Manager at M&S Newcastle, said: “The green wall will make the store a standout on Northumberland Street. It is hugely exciting that M&S Newcastle has been chosen for this refit.
“Customers should be reassured that the works will not impact on trading hours, which will operate as normal. We cannot wait to unveil the new store.”
Chris Marney, Head of Engineering and Energy Efficiency at M&S, added: “This project signals our intent to regenerate and invest into Northumberland Street, improving not only customer experience, but also providing a striking vista on the high street.
“M&S Newcastle is our first large store in the UK where we are refitting a wide range of sustainable features of this nature and scale. These changes will bring us one step closer to achieving our Plan A 2020 energy efficiency targets.”
Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Investment and Development at Newcastle City Council said: “We’re delighted that M&S are investing in their Northumberland Street store, which fits with our plans to develop a package of improvements across the city centre, in partnership with NE1.
“This is part of our ambitious Re-Newcastle programme of investment, focussed on reshaping and renewing our city, creating lasting benefits for Newcastle’s economy.”
Plant life in the green wall, which will offer a source of nectar for butterflies and bees and seeds for birds, will include: Sea Pink, Thyme, Cranesbill, Wood Rush, Hebe, Ferns and Hart’s Tongue, amongst others.
Eco features for the store include:
- Green living wall: the wall will help insulate the building and encourage biodiversity.
- Rainwater harvesting: the green wall will be irrigated by rainwater captured on the roof by the rainwater harvesting system.
- LED fridge lighting: LED lighting will be installed into all refrigeration display cases, delivering energy saving and giving better lighting on products and labels.
- Heat reclaim: a heat pump has been installed to reclaim waste heat generated from the store’s refrigeration system. The heat generated from the pump is then distributed to the Food Hall to improve customer comfort and deliver energy savings.
- Fridge rationalisation: mobile fridges have been removed and replaced with energy efficient units connected to the main refrigeration plant.
- Intelligent door sensors: M&S Newcastle will be one of the first stores to trial intelligent door sensors. With the store in a high footfall area, the new sensors can differentiate between a passerby and a shopper intending to enter the store. This not only saves energy, but also helps to retain warmth in the Food Hall.
- High velocity air curtains: over door heaters provide an air curtain between the store and outside. This helps to retain warmth within the Food Hall, delivering added comfort for shoppers.