16 | Watts & Hughes: Countdown Waiata Shores Sustainable supermarket way forward Karen Phelps Sustainable features at Countdown Waiata Shores supermarket include digital shelf labels to reduce paper use, doors on all the fridges to reduce energy use and solar panels on the roof to generate power. DEVELOPMENT Since the Green Star accredited Countdown Waiata Shores supermarket opened in South Auckland on 27 January feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, says Countdown director of property, Matthew Grainger. “It’s been really well received by customers and we’ve also had a lot of interest from others in the property market coming to look at it,” he says. It’s Countdown’s second Green Star build following the success of New Zealand’s first Greenstar supermarket in Richmond, Nelson, which opened in June 2021. The new Countdown Waiata Shores comprises 4,200sqm and represents a more than $30 million investment by Countdown. Sustainable features include digital shelf labels to reduce paper use, doors on all the fridges to reduce energy use, solar panels on the roof to generate power and cycle paths that connect to the rest of the Waiata Shores development. Matthew says features such as doors on fridges mean energy savings but also a less chilly and more comfortable experience for customers as they shop down the aisle. Countdown is looking at retrofitting doors in some other supermarkets. Matthew says that building such a sustainable supermarket and meeting the Green Star standards isn’t as simple or as inexpensive as a regular store and isn’t just about the features customers can see in the store – the whole design and construction process was equally important. “There’s a lot that’s happened behind the scenes to make the development as sustainable as possible. We’ve made a deliberate effort to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill - in fact, we reduced construction waste to landfill by 70 per cent.” Watts & Hughes Construction, a long-term build partner of Countdown, which previously built Countdown’s Green Star distribution centre in Palmerston North, constructed Countdown Waiata Shores. “Because they have built a lot of supermarkets for us over the years and are a great partner of ours we wanted to carry on the relationships in this new era of committing to Green Star. Bringing them along with us on that journey also sets the relationship up for future Green Star developments.” A local touch is that on one end of the store is a Maori artwork in the precast panels completed by artist Johnson Witehira in consultation with local iwi Te Akitai o Waiohuia. Matthew says that the art represents that this area was the food bowl of South Auckland in the 1800s. “All the seafood was brought in through the estuary and the lands were used for growing food as well as storage. All the figures in the artwork hold a food item of some form. The large figure depicts Ihaaka Taakanini, the original chief in this area of which the area is named after.” Matthew says the Green Star builds form part of Countdown’s larger 2025 Sustainability Commitments. He says Countdown is working to achieve a 4 Green Star design and as-built rating for all of its new property developments, and a 5 Green Star minimum standard by 2025. “Meeting this goal will significantly contribute to Countdown’s goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 63 per cent by 2030 versus its 2015 baseline. It’s the right thing to do for the planet and the communities we operate in. One of the things our customers are telling us is they want to shop with a company that is taking real action in this space so we’re proud to be leading the supermarket industry with Green Star builds with a variety of Green Star supermarket and distribution centre projects underway.” Key Points • Solar panels to generate 10-15% of the store’s total energy • Transcritical refrigeration systems that use natural refrigerant gases • LED lighting which is 35% more efficient than traditional lighting • Water-saving taps to reduce water use • An Energy Management System, which provides regular updates on store energy and water use • Doors on fridges and freezers to reduce energy use. Every 10 doors saves enough energy to power a New Zealand home for a year. • Digital shelf labels to reduce paper use • EV chargers for customer cars • More bike parks linked with local cycleways to help encourage biking and reduce short car trips to the supermarket.