BRE - Reducing the embodied impacts of shopfitting equipment

Organization: BRE
Publication Date: 1 February 2015
Page Count: 8


The incentives for retailers to report, manage and reduce operational environmental impacts (especially greenhouse gas emissions due to energy use) are well known. However, less is known about the embodied environmental impacts of the retail buildings themselves and of the shopfitting equipment which furnishes these stores. Some carbon footprinting studies of new store construction have been undertaken but the impacts of shopfitting equipment have largely been overlooked.

Key functions of shopfitting equipment, which is the retailspecific furniture required for a retail operation, include:

  • presenting product: front-of-house ambient/chilled food and non-food storage and display, fresh food servery counters, specialist categories (eg wine, books)
  • customer service: information desks, till points, self-service checkouts,
  • cafĂ© furniture communication:
  • product promotion, store signage, customer information, branding.

The environmental impact of shopfitting equipment is likely to be substantial for these reasons:

  • there is an estimated 60 million m2 of retail floorspace in the UK
  • service life of shopfitting equipment varies, but typically it has a much shorter life than the buildings it occupies and therefore may be replaced several times over the life of a store.