Eliminating emissions

It is a critical time for climate action – global temperatures are rising, and it’s essential for us all to work together to dramatically reduce emissions that cause climate change.

One way we can reduce our direct greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution is in the way we heat and cool our buildings, so we have committed to replace fossil fuel technologies with 100% renewable technologies in all our buildings, including our IKEA stores, distribution centres and warehouses, our Ingka Centres locations and all Ingka Group offices by 2030. All new buildings approved after 2020 will also need to use 100% renewable heating and cooling technologies.

Karol Gobczynski, Climate & Energy Leader, Ingka Group, believes we all have a role to play in making this transition away from fossil fuels. “Every one of us can contribute towards the IKEA ambition to become climate positive. Switching to renewable heating and cooling across our hundreds of buildings across 30 Ingka Group markets is one of the ways we can show our commitment to tackling climate change.”

The road ahead

Two types of heat pumps – ground source and air source – will play the main role in the elimination of fossil fuels-based energy consumption from our buildings. Nearly one fifth of our stores are using ground source heat pumps and almost a third are using air source heat pumps. These systems are already at least partially covering our stores’ heating and cooling needs without direct greenhouse gas emissions, so we know it’s a solution that works. The next step is to scale-up implementation across all Ingka Group buildings.

“Based on geographical location, local legislation or other restrictions, we might need to look for different solutions. This can be because the technology isn’t available in some markets, so we need to import it, or it can be because lower local fossil fuel prices make the initial investment seem more expensive,” says Richard Lundgren, Technical Manager, Group Property Facility Management, Ingka Group, “so we held workshops with our co-workers around the world to find the best way forward in each region.”

The dedicated and engaged co-workers participating in these workshops created roadmaps for implementation in each of our 30 markets. The plans, when finished, will cover everything from the type of systems we will need to install, to the challenges we’re likely to face on the way.

A safe bet

Retrofitting this technology to all buildings that don’t have it at the moment will require investment and training, but we’ve already seen that with new technologies we can reduce operational costs and avoid the risks related to stricter emissions regulations and carbon pricing. This will benefit the business and the planet. Karol explains,

“Considering lifecycle costs helps take overall cost reduction into account, not only the initial investment.

“Renewable heating and cooling technologies can be used in the home too, so we are trialling a few initiatives to show how renewable heating and cooling systems can benefit the many in a more direct way.”

The Helsinki solution

In March 2018, we retrofitted a ground source heat pump that will heat and cool the IKEA Helsinki store using 100% renewable energy. This highly efficient technology can convert a 2°C temperature difference between above ground and below into 20°C of heating, using a system of pumps and compressors. It’s projected to save us EUR 95,000 each year on our energy bills. These same solutions are already being used in some of our IKEA buildings across northern and central Europe, Canada and China.