Waitrose to introduce ‘invisible door’
Waitrose & Partners is to introduce an ‘invisible door’ at one of its stores later this year. The retailer said the door could potentially save UK retailers a combined £1.5 billion per year by reducing their energy bills.
The AirDoor concept by Wirth Research prevents warm air being lost from a store during colder weather and cold air being lost during warmer temperatures as customers enter and leave. Waitrose said it performs particularly well in times of extreme temperature or pressure differences as well as in strong winds.
The door works by providing an archway that sits outside the store, situated around the frame of the existing entrance. It has an array of sensors to detect airflow in both directions, which is then counteracted by an opposing, self-generating wind. The result is an invisible, active ‘barrier’ that prevents unwanted outside air flowing into the building and inside air escaping.
The first AirDoor will launch at Waitrose’s Berkhamsted store later this year and, if successful, will be rolled out to more shops.
The AirDoor was co-funded by government scheme Innovate UK.
Jim Burnett, senior manager of technical services at Waitrose & Partners, said: “We are always looking to find innovative ways to reduce our impact on the environment and while we know we still have a lot of work to do, the potential of the AirDoor could be key in helping us make our shops even more sustainable in the future.”
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