Calgary, June 8 - Calgary Co-op has outfitted a second store with an innovative technology that reduces its impact on the environment while saving it money.

When Calgary Co-op installed the technology, known as a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) unit, at its first store in Shawnessy in April 2017 it was the first time a fully dedicated CHP system was installed into a grocery store in Western Canada. The benefits experienced were immediate.

“We have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 850 tonnes since we installed the Combined Heat and Power unit in our Shawnessy store 15 months ago,” said Ken Keelor, Calgary Co-op’s Chief Executive Officer. “That is similar to reducing the amount of energy equivalent to what 65 average homes would use in Calgary for an entire year or taking 167 cars off the road for a year.”

With the second CHP recently coming online at Calgary Co-op’s West Springs store in west Calgary, Keelor foresees reducing its greenhouse gas emission by double to almost 1,500 tonnes per year, which is equivalent to removing 294 cars from the road or the energy used in 115 average homes in a year.

In addition to reducing the environmental impact in its stores, the increased efficiency of the CHP units ensures Calgary Co-op and its members benefit from utility costs that are proving to be 26% lower.

“Our members care about the environment and are looking to us to reduce our impact in innovative ways,” said Keelor. “The grocery sector is highly competitive so when we can reduce costs by 26% by introducing more efficient ways to power our stores there is a meaningful impact for both the environment as well as our members.”

CHP systems are also known as cogeneration systems. They consist of a natural gas-fueled engine driving a generator, while heat exchangers capture heat from the engine exhaust and cooling jacket. This allows the unit to deliver electricity and waste heat to a building. They are far more efficient than conventional centralized electrical power plants that transform about 32% of their fuel into electricity and lose 68% to the atmosphere as wasted heat. In contrast, CHP systems can achieve 80% efficiency because they recycle heat created from generating electricity and use it for space heating, domestic hot water, industrial process heat, or thermal-driven chilling.

“The CHP units used at Calgary Co-op’s Shawnessy and West Springs stores supply approximately 40% of the stores’ electricity needs, while simultaneously providing all of the hot water used in the store operations,” said Keelor.

For more information:

Robyn Soper
Calgary Co-op   
403-219-6025 ext. 6912                                 


About Calgary Co-op 

Owned by members, Calgary Co-op is one of the largest retail co-operatives in North America. Locations in Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks and Strathmore include food centres, pharmacies, gas bars, car washes, commercial cardlocks, home health care centres, and wine, spirits and beer locations. With over 440,000 members, 3,850 employees, assets of $572 million and annual sales of $1.2 billion, Calgary Co-op received recognition as one of Alberta's Top 70 Employers in both 2017 and 2018.



Calgary Co-op energy savings by the numbers: 

  • Calgary Co-op has installed Combined Heat and Power Units at two stores – Shawnessy and West Springs.
  • Calgary Co-op has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 850 tonnes since it installed its first CHP unit at its Shawnessy store.
  • Reducing 850 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions is equivalent to removing 167 cars off the road for a year or the energy used by 65 average Calgary homes in a year.
  • The combined environmental benefit of operating CHP units in the Shawnessy and West Springs stores means greenhouse gas reductions of an estimated 1,458 tonnes every year. This is equivalent to taking 286 cars off the road for a year or the energy used by 112 average homes in a year.
  • Calgary Co-op’s utility costs are about 26% lower on average from installing the CHP units.
  • The CHP units are powering about 40% of the Shawnessy and West Springs stores’ electricity needs while simultaneously providing all the hot water used in the store operations.
  • CHP systems can achieve efficiency of 80%. They are about 48% more efficiently than conventional centralized electrical power plants.