Hammerson and Costa Invest Collaboratively to Achieve Zero Carbon


At Wrekin Retail Park in Telford, developer Hammerson and occupier Costa invested collaboratively to create a zero carbon Eco Pod, which opened in April 2015. The Eco Pod includes passive ventilation and high performance building materials that naturally manage temperatures, as well as photovoltaic panels that produce clean power for the building, offsetting a proportion of the energy used by the coffee making equipment. The result? Lower energy costs, a high quality internal environment and strong sustainability credentials, supporting Hammerson’s and Costa’s sustainability goals and reputations – a win/win for all involved.

UK’s first zero carbon coffee shop

Significant energy cost savings versus conventional coffee shops

Potential to transform not just new Costa stores but the wider industry

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) A+

Significantly outperforming Building Regulations Part L 2013


Costa, which operates more than 1,800 coffee shops across the UK, is part of Whitbread plc. Through its sustainability programme, Good Together, Costa had been looking at developing a zero carbon store since 2009, focusing on efficient equipment and in-store energy use. Although Costa had successfully achieved reductions, the company realised that it could not approach zero carbon through these strategies alone. However, in attempting zero carbon for new stores elsewhere, Costa was faced with the challenge of not being the lead occupier in the building and therefore not able to influence at the design stage.

When Costa approached Hammerson about a zero carbon store at Wrekin Retail Park, Hammerson welcomed the opportunity to collaborate. This is a project that fits exactly with Hammerson’s Positive Places vision – to deliver positive environmental, social and economic impact.

Hammerson and Costa worked on the project with architects Emission Zero, project managers Projex Building Solutions and building frame firm Fordingbridge, together pioneering environmentally-friendly and innovative energy saving technologies. The local authority, Telford & Wrekin Council, also provided a supportive planning context, and there was a good fit with the town’s heritage of innovation in engineering.


Together, Hammerson and Costa collaboratively invested in the 1,600 sq ft Eco Pod, which offers seating for around 60 people inside and 20 outside.

Both parties recognised the benefits of a high performing building and agreed to an open book approach to the costs and benefits, so that they could overcome any split incentives. Hammerson agreed to fund the enhanced shell, which was more expensive than a ‘business as usual’ store, for instance including photovoltaic panels on the roof. In turn, Costa agreed to an increase in rent based on the energy cost savings it expects to benefit from on an ongoing basis. This created a cost neutral investment for both parties and was key to unlocking this project.

Key sustainability design features include:

  • Super-insulated façade that uses soft wood with excellent energy retention properties, keeping more heat in during the winter and helping to maintain a cool interior during the summer
  • 28kW photovoltaic panels on the specially curved roof generate clean power for internal operating equipment, such as fridges, dishwashers, ceramic panini grills and coffee machines
  • Intelligent orientation of the building achieves optimum levels of sun and shade, impacting on overall energy requirements for heating and cooling
  • Under-floor heating system and passive ventilation further minimises heating and cooling demand in the building
  • Timber frame from FSC-certified sustainable sources, rather than a traditional steel frame, reduces the embodied carbon footprint of the building

In addition, the new equipment in the Eco Pod is significantly more efficient than equipment in older stores, thanks to Costa’s ongoing focus on energy and water efficiency. For instance, Costa’s new intelligent coffee machine not only has three chambers rather than a single boiler to improve the efficiency of heating the water, it is also able to learn the trade patterns of the store and manage its power usage throughout the day and week. This has led to a reduction in energy usage of 28% compared to the previous version, with the machine also giving out less heat, which reduces the demands on in-store cooling systems.

Benefits and financials

  • 54% energy saving: low energy design with high levels of insulation, good air tightness and high performance glazing
  • High quality internal environment: through passive ventilation, radiant heating and increased natural daylight
  • Greater seating capacity: the overhanging roof canopy creates covered external seating areas and the building geometry enables a mezzanine deck for future expansion
  • Energy security: secure, cost effective access to electricity from the photovoltaic panels for Costa and future occupiers
  • Quick construction: full shell construction within 12 weeks
  • Reputation: supporting Hammerson’s and Costa’s wider sustainability programmes and reputations

The sustainability improvements met Hammerson’s and Costa’s financial requirements, with both parties benefiting across the 10-year lease period. 

Challenges & Achievements




How to link efficient design and efficient operation?


The Eco Pod offered a test bed for Hammerson and Costa to trial and learn lessons about sustainable design and technologies. Costa is now monitoring the performance of the Eco Pod, so that it can incorporate the best bits into new-build coffee shops where possible to further drive down energy consumption across the business. Operational performance data so far shows that the Eco Pod is delivering on design expectations overall, although a year’s data across all four seasons will be needed for full consideration of each sustainability feature. Hammerson also intends to use the Eco Pod as a blueprint for low carbon and sustainable design where possible, supporting other retailers in creating more efficient assets.




How to realise opportunities?


It is vital for occupiers and developers to work together to deliver on efficiency objectives, as the design and construction of the building is typically led by the developer, whilst the fit-out and operation are led by the occupier. At Wrekin Retail Park, developer Hammerson and occupier Costa both had strong sustainability visions. Costa shared detailed information about how much energy the store would use, so that Hammerson could inform the design team and engineers about the future requirements of the building. This level of insight is unusual at such an early stage and enabled the design team to optimise the plans for efficiency.




What do we mean by zero carbon?


The Eco Pod is zero net carbon for all regulated energy, with any emissions from heating, cooling and lighting completely offset by the photovoltaic panels. In addition, some of the emissions from internal operating equipment, such as coffee machines, panini grills and dishwashers, are also offset by the photovoltaic panels. Hammerson aims to achieve 25% lower carbon emissions than Building Regulations Part L for new developments. The Eco Pod significantly exceeds this target, achieving -6.1 kg/CO2 per m² per annum, 118% better than the Building Regulations 2013 Part L requirement of 34.3 kg/CO2 per m² per annum.


Find out more

Richard Quartermaine

Environmental Manager




Thomas Cochrane

Retail Parks Development Manager





Oliver Rosevear

Energy & Environment Manager


E: Oliver.Rosevear@whitbread.com


“We wanted to explore new ways to serve quality coffee to our customers while managing our environmental footprint as responsibly as we can. Through a successful partnership with Hammerson, we have developed an outstanding new type of test bed building design which really does have the potential to make a massive difference if rolled out more widely.” 

Jim Slater, Managing Director of Costa UK and Ireland