The system has been designed by Highway Energy Systems, the same company that uses the same technology to generate electricity from the passing cars on highways. As vehicles pass over the plates, they push the plates down and create a motion under the road’s surface, probably using the piezoelectric effect or by using the car’s weight to move some pulleys, and produce about 30kW of electricity per hour, enough to power the store’s checkout area.
Sainsbury’s green measures don’t stop here, though: they also have rainwater to flush their toilets, solar panels for hot water, floor-to-ceiling windows for maximizing the natural light, automatic dimmers for the electric ones, and recovering the cold air from refrigerators to keep the checkout area to a pleasant temperature during the summer. Extra secure cycle spaces have been installed to make it easier for customers to shop by bike, and the cyclepod is made from over 12,500 aluminium cans. By using recycled aluminium, cyclepods save the equivalent energy to power a TV for 600 hours
It’s nice to hear shops considering being green, and we hope Sainsbury’s greening is not only for commercial purposes, and on the outside. There are a lot of other green things stores could do to greenly power themselves, but this is a beginning and an example that should be applied by many to really make a difference.