Żabka Eko Smart – the first store in Poland combining ecology and technology
Żabka opens a laboratory of eco-innovations enriched with smart solutions. The Żabka Eko Smart has one of the first perovskite installations in the world – the so-called price tags and blinds with perovskite cells were created using this groundbreaking technology. The facility is equipped with remote lighting and shop equipment management (Smart Shop Control) systems. And the surroundings where the coffee machine is located there are tiles made of coffee grounds and coffee husks. Lockable refrigerators insulated with hemp mats allow for great energy saving, just like glycol-filled shelves in the freezer cabinet. Soon, Żabka is planning to launch three more such stores in different parts of the country.
The new store is part of the Żabka Group’s Responsibility Strategy, one of the main areas of which is a concern for the environment, including achieving climate neutrality by the end of 2025 and reducing the intensity of emissions in stores by 70% by the end of 2026 and increasing franchisees’ satisfaction with the chain. Żabka Eko Smart is a continuation of the project implemented in 2020, when in Warsaw at Lewandów Street the chain launched the first store 100% powered by green energy. The Warsaw facility is a laboratory in which Żabka – often as the first company in the world – has tested nearly 20 environmentally friendly solutions, showing the direction in which the future of trade will develop. The next step was the launch in April 2022 of Żabka Smart at Półwiejska Street in Poznań, where new technological solutions aimed at improving the work of franchisees are being studied. Now the chain connects and enriches both projects, developing a unique project – the first Żabka Eko Smart is located in Poznań at 2 Powstańców Wielkopolskich Street.
– Based on the experience of pilot programs carried out in our laboratory in Warsaw, we have introduced new solutions to the chain, thanks to which we have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1.3 thousand tons of CO₂, and also reduced electricity consumption by almost 261 MWh. We are now entering the next stage of the project and launching the Żabka Eko Smart, the first facility in Poland, where we combine environmental issues with modern technological solutions, improving the work of franchisees and their employees. Presenting new solutions, we also encourage customers to acquire completely different shopping experiences. We hope that this way we will additionally sow seeds of curiosity in them and encourage pro-ecological actions – says Anna Grabowska, Vice President of the Management Board for Consumer Strategy, Żabka Group.
The smart solutions used in Żabka Eko Smart are not only energy efficient but also significantly improve the daily work of the franchisee and the store attendants.
– We continuously support franchisees with many tools that make doing business easier. The Żabka Eko Smart is packed with innovative technological solutions based on artificial intelligence, which cooperate with the store attendants. They “communicate” with the franchisee and store attendants and “perform” certain activities in the facility. Flooding sensors, automatic temperature measurement in the store, and energy consumption measurement release their time, allow attendants to focus on customer service, and at the same time are friendly to the planet. This is another step in the implementation of the strategy of franchise-centricity, according to which Żabka creates innovative solutions that help entrepreneurs run a local business, in addition to doing it in the most environmentally friendly way. The realization of our goals would not be possible without good cooperation with the Poznań City Hall and the Municipal Conservation Officer. Thanks to the openness of the officials to innovations and green solutions, our customers, the franchisees of Żabka Eko Smart, and their employees can test our ideas in practice – says Adam Manikowski, EVP, Managing Director, Żabka Polska.
The technologies used in the Żabka Eko Smart revolve around five key categories: green energy, second life, clean air, green transport, and smart solutions.
The energy used by the Żabka Eko Smart in Poznań comes from 100% renewable sources. The facility used one of the first perovskite installations in the world. It is a breakthrough photovoltaic technology, generating green energy from both sunlight and artificial light. It has been made of blinds covering one of the walls of the building and installed in the facility price tags, which additionally allows for saving paper. 15 modules of photovoltaic panels were also installed on the roof of the store.
In the store you can find modern, closed fridges, limiting the energy consumption necessary to cool the goods, and their insulation made of hemp mats has very good thermal properties. This is a promising alternative to the commonly used polyurethane foam, as hemp – as a natural material – is fully biodegradable. Glycol shelves installed inside the refrigerated cabinets are filled with glycol, which allows one to store the cold and give it away at the most critical moments of the device operation, which increases the safety of stored products during external failures.
Green energy can also be used directly by customers – in front of the store, there is a solar bench, thanks to which one can charge their phone.
The wall next to the coffee maker was covered with tiles made of coffee grounds and coffee husks, which are waste generated during the roasting and brewing stage, combined with resin.
In front of the Poznań Żabka Eko Smart, there is also an EKOmat, a device for collecting beverage bottles and cans. From the empty packaging collected this way, new packages for products of the Żabka private label are made, e.g. Od Nowa, Dobra Karma, and Foodini brands, which have 33% less carbon footprint than traditional packaging. Żabka has already collected 600 thousand bottles with the help of EKOmats.
Żabka did not forget about the franchisees and their employees, for whom 100% organic cotton shirts were prepared and dyed with organic, certified dyes.
To reduce the amount of dust and harmful substances that enter the atmosphere, one of the walls of the building housing the Żabka Eko Smart has been covered with plants. Not only do they produce oxygen, but they also absorb dust and harmful compounds from the air. A total of 532 plants were planted in 280 pots.
The effect of elimination of harmful substances will be additionally reinforced by the anti-smog paving laid next to the building, which – compared to asphalt – reduces the concentration of nitrogen oxides in the air by approximately 50% on average.
Cyclists are also not forgotten about by the chain. The bicycle stand allows one to safely leave their bicycle in front of the store, and the bicycle repair station next to the facility will allow them to quickly adjust the brakes and gears, inflate the wheels, and make emergency repairs.
The solutions used in the smart facility “communicate” with the franchisee and store attendants and “perform” certain activities in the facility. Thanks to the sound system, the store staff receives messages about a possible failure or information about situations requiring human intervention, such as the lack of coffee in the coffee maker. With the Smart Shop Control and Hybrid System, thanks to appropriate sensors, the temperature in the store adapts automatically to the current weather conditions, energy consumption measurement and interconnection allow for verification of the correctness of the equipment, and flooding sensors detect faults in the refrigeration equipment, resulting in lower costs and reduced store downtime.