Matt Grainger, Countdown’s Acting General Manager Property

Countdown has started construction on the country’s first Green Star supermarket in Richmond as part of its overall commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 63% by 2030 (versus its 2015 baseline).

Green Star is an internationally-recognised rating system for the design, construction and operation of buildings, fitout and communities. Countdown’s new supermarket in Richmond has been designed, and will be built and operated, in a way that reduces negative impact on the environment and the people using it.

Matt Grainger, Countdown’s Acting General Manager Property, says there has been a shift in thinking around how stores need to be built as a way to help meet Countdown’s 2030 carbon emission target. 

“Green Star is a useful tool that has helped us plan, design and build our Richmond store in a completely different way. It has encouraged us to try new technologies and building practices, and we aim to learn from this and apply these learnings to new builds for Countdown going forward,” says Grainger.

As part of aiming for a Green Star rating, the store will include transcritical refrigeration, LED lighting throughout, solar energy, energy and water metering, connection to an energy management system, a focus on sustainable procurement and materials, and water conservation measures.

“We had a blank canvas to explore how we achieve a Green Star rating and this included reviewing our previous builds against the Green Star scorecard as well as working closely with the Green Building Council on our design. We’re really happy with the overall design and hope the local Richmond community loves it too,” says Grainger.

“We’ve also worked really closely with our building contractor, Gibbons Naylor, to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill during construction, recycling demolition waste where possible, commissioning building services efficiently, and focusing on sustainable products within the build where possible. This isn’t easy and we’re really pleased to be working with a contractor who understands the importance of this.”

While many of the green features in the new store will be invisible to the everyday customer once the store is open,  the Green Star scorecard also measures things like the quality of the indoor environment and sustainable transport options, which Countdown has taken into account in the design with a focus on visual and audio comfort (glare, lighting, internal noise levels etc.), EV parking and a bus stop right outside.

“We’ve worked with the local council on the roundabout upgrade and will continue to support the project to help create a safer local environment for cyclists and pedestrians around the store. We’re really excited to create a supermarket and surrounding area that is best suited to the Richmond community,” says Grainger.

Andrew Eagles, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Green Building Council gave a massive congratulations to Countdown and said it is great news for their business, for New Zealanders shopping there, and for the collective efforts to tackle climate change.

“This will be Aotearoa’s very first Green Star supermarket. Great green buildings use less water, have less carbon pollution, and are often better ventilated and lit, helping to make them healthier, nicer places for New Zealanders. We’re really looking forward to seeing Countdown roll out Green Star across even more of their stores around Aotearoa,” says Andrew Eagles.

The new Countdown Richmond will create around 120 jobs in the local area, and also feature an online Drive Thru for Pick up, a Countdown Pharmacy, a focus on accessibility, a cafe and other retail space.

The brand new 3450sqm Countdown supermarket in Richmond is expected to open in mid-2021.

As part of Countdown’s 2025 sustainability commitments, Countdown is aiming 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. Countdown’s Sustainability Plan 2025 Kia pai ake te apōpō – A Better Tomorrow also includes commitments to send zero food waste to landfill by 2025 and having 20% Māori and Pasifika representation at store manager level and above.

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