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Costa brews up innovative new eco-pod for Telford

New concept coffee shop at Wrekin Retail Park to open next week


Costa, the UK’s favourite coffee shop, will open a groundbreaking new ‘Eco Pod’ store at Wrekin Retail Park next week (Saturday 4th April). 

With the latest in environmentally-friendly building design and packed full of innovative energy saving technologies, the Eco Pod will be the first ‘zero energy’ coffee shop building in the UK.

Costa has developed the cutting-edge building design and fit out in partnership with Hammerson, the retail property specialist, which owns the retail park and facilitated the delivery of the new concept store.  Costa will lease the building.

The new Eco Pod will provide all of the irresistible quality food and beverage menu choices available in ‘regular’ Costa coffee shops but, crucially, all of this will happen inside a ‘zero energy’ building.

‘Zero energy’ is achieved through passive ventilation and innovative construction techniques which mean that the energy required to heat and cool the building is minimised and that the low amount of energy that is required for building temperature control will come from solar PV cells embedded in the specially curved roof, balancing out overall.

The key design features that make all the difference include:

1.     A special timber frame constructed using FSC sourced timber as an alternative to a traditional steel frame, reducing the embodied carbon footprint of the building

2.     A super-insulated facade using soft wood with excellent energy retention properties (keeping more heat in during the winter and also helping to keep the interior cool in summer)

3.     Intelligent orientation of the building to achieve optimum levels of sun and shade, impacting on overall energy requirements for heating and cooling

4.     Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels on the roof

5.     An under-floor heating system and passive ventilation

The building design features are what give the coffee shop its overall ‘zero energy’ score.  The actual internal operating equipment – including espresso machines, Panini grills and dishwasher equipment – all use power in a conventional way.

The building took 13 weeks to build and measures 150 sq m.  It has seating for approximately 58 people inside and 20 outside.

Jim Slater, Managing Director of Costa UK and Ireland, said: “This is an exciting first for coffee shop and retail design here in the UK and has the potential to transform not just how we build new stores at Costa but the industry far more widely.  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.”

Tom Cochrane, Asset Manager at Hammerson, said: “The opening of the Costa Eco Pod at Wrekin Retail Park is a significant achievement for our team and clearly demonstrates that as a business, Hammerson is at the forefront of consumer awareness of supply chain ethics and environmental impacts.  By working collaboratively, we have been able to provide Costa with an entirely new and innovative concept store, as well as a UK first.  Using this as a blueprint for low carbon and sustainable design we hope to support, where possible, other retailers in creating truly sustainable assets.”

Costa developed the initiative with Hammerson to explore ways to make building, operating and maintaining a coffee shop as sustainable and low-energy as possible. 

Costa operates more than 1,800 coffee shops across the UK.  It is anticipated that lessons learned from the Eco Pod test bed at Telford will be incorporated into future new build stores, helping to drive down energy consumption across the business. 

Costa is part of Whitbread plc which is recognised as one of the most progressive and innovative UK companies for managing sustainability.  It has been endorsed by and won awards from many of the UK’s leading environmental organisations including The Carbon Trust, The Green Building Council, Business in the Community, and the Sustainability Leaders Awards.

More information on Whitbread’s sustainability programme, Good Together, is available here


Media contacts:

Ben Copithorne or Tom Engleback at Camargue on 020 7636 7366 / bcopithorne@camarguepr.com / tengleback@camarguepr.com


Notes to Editors:

About Costa

Costa is the UK’s favourite coffee shop, having been awarded “Best Branded Coffee Shop Chain in the UK and Ireland" by Allegra Strategies for five years running (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & November 2014).

Winner of “Best Branded Coffee Chain in Europe” Allegra Strategies 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

With over 1,800 coffee shops in the UK and more than 1,100 overseas, Costa is the fastest growing coffee shop business in the UK and the second largest coffee shop operator in the world.  Founded in London by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971, Costa has become the UK’s favourite coffee shop chain and diversified into both the at-home and gourmet self-serve markets.

Costa employs over 12,000 people and is creating around 1,500 jobs this year and over 4,500 jobs in the next three years in the UK. We continue to be part of the Sunday Times Best Companies To Work For list.

Costa is committed to looking after coffee-growers. That's why we've established The Costa Foundation, a registered charity. The Costa Foundation's aims are to relieve poverty, advance education and the health and environment of coffee-growing communities around the world. So far, The Costa Foundation has funded the building of 42 schools and improved the social and economic welfare of coffee-growing communities.


About Hammerson

Hammerson is a FTSE 100 owner, manager and developer of retail destinations in Europe.  Our portfolio of high-quality retail property has a value of around £7.7 billion and includes 22 prime shopping centres, 22 convenient retail parks and investments in 15 premium outlet villages, through our partnership with Value Retail and the VIA Outlets joint venture.





1.     What’s special about the Eco Pod and its sustainability credentials?

The new Eco Pod Costa at Wrekin Retail Park, Telford, is the result of a creative and effective partnership between Costa (as occupier) and Hammerson (as developer of the building).  Through smart architectural design and intelligent use of building materials, the building is ‘zero energy’ and therefore the only energy needed for Costa’s operations will be for equipment such as the espresso coffee machines themselves, dishwashers and so on.

This is the first time in the UK that a ‘zero energy’ cafe/restaurant building has been built and opened commercially.

2.     How do the technologies work?  What makes it ‘zero energy’?

The majority of energy use in conventional commercial buildings is spent on heating and cooling the building (ie building plant).  What’s different with the Eco Pod is the use of passive ventilation and building materials which naturally manage the internal temperature, keeping it at suitable and pleasant levels for customers and staff alike.  The building also includes solar PV panels which produce energy for use within the building, off-setting some of the energy used by the coffee making equipment.

3.     Is this the future?  Will all new Costa coffee shops be built this way?

The Eco Pod is a test bed for us to trial and learn lessons about sustainable design and technologies.  We intend to draw on the best bits and what works well so that, where possible, we can incorporate these lessons into any new build coffee shops as well as our existing network.

4.     Who has been involved in this project?

The Eco Pod is the result of a collaborative partnership between Costa and Hammerson.  Supporting Costa and Hammerson are Emission Zero (architect), Projex Building Solutions (project and cost management) and Fordingbridge (building frame design and build).

We are using expert UK-based businesses to help us with the project.

5.     Why did Costa choose Telford for the Eco Pod?

At Wrekin Retail Park, we had the ideal combination of a willing and progressive landlord, in Hammerson, and a supportive planning context, in Telford & Wrekin Council.  It was the right site at the right time for us.  It’s also appropriate to pioneer this type of design and engineering in Telford because of the town’s history and associations with innovation in engineering.

6.     How much energy does the building use?

The Eco Pod is expected to be significantly more efficient than a ‘conventional’ Costa coffee shop.  It’s early days at the moment but, once we have had the coffee shop open for a few months, we will have more data to evaluate and work with.  We are confident that we will see a significant reduction versus a ‘conventional’ Costa.

7.     Do you have any immediate plans for other Eco Pods around the country?

We need to monitor and evaluate the performance of the Eco Pod over 6-12 months before we can be clear about lessons learned and how we apply them. 

Certainly we are keen to continue driving down use of energy and resources across our operations and to be as sustainable and efficient as possible. 

We have a corporate commitment to doing this – you can read more about ‘Good Together’ here or see our most recent Corporate Responsibility report here.

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