Wilkinson Hardware Stores has adopted an air-cooling system that could save energy.

The retailer is introducing “free cooling” in 148 of its 300 stores in the UK.

Working in partnership with GK Industrial, it has switched from traditional air conditioning to this new concept.

The duo have developed a way to use outside ambient air temperature to maintain the required temperature in-store. This replaces the traditional method of constantly running rooftop compressors to recirculate air to a set temperature, irrespective of the temperature outside.

GK Industrial managing director David Goldberg said: “Free cooling reduces compressor running hours, energy usage and running costs, while increasing the lifespan of the system. It also improves air quality by introducing greater quantities of fresh air.”

The system was tested for 67.5 hours over three days. The results showed that replacing the original recirculation system with an average free cooling system led to an energy cost saving of 40p per sq ft in a typical Wilkinson store, based on present energy prices.

Wilkinson property maintenance manager Leigh Oldfield said: “In addition to the cost savings and benefits in terms of long-term sustainability, the new system will help create a better ambience in-store.”