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19:44 on Saturday
2 August 2003

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Environmentally friendly geothermal heating


Artist's impression of IKEA distribution centre


IKEA’s new distribution centre in Peterborough is helping to further the city’s reputation as a leading centre for UK environmental innovation and activity with the installation of a state of the art, energy saving, geothermal heating system at the site.

The environmentally friendly heating system is one of the largest of its type in the UK. It will utilize the earth’s natural heat to provide around 230 kW of energy which will be used for heating and cooling two floors of the office development.

At the IKEA site, which is currently being built by Shepherd Construction, 45 bore holes, each measuring 115mm in diameter, were made 70 metres deep into the ground underneath the staff car park. A tube threaded down into each borehole and looped back up to the surface allows water to be pumped into the hole where its temperature is raised naturally by the earth.

Once returned to the surface the water is at 10°C. It is then transferred through an underground trench to a plant room where, using heat pump technology, the heat is extracted from the water and used to heat the building.

In the summer the system reverses and extracts heat from the building, transferring it to the underground system, where it is absorbed by the cooler ground, creating a pleasant working environment.

The geothermal heating process is a natural, environmentally friendly, way to create a comfortable office climate all year round. It uses significantly less energy than conventional systems and is highly efficient and cost effective to operate.

Peterborough is one of four Environment Cities in the UK and home to a growing cluster of environmentally orientated companies. Recent research has shown that these companies employ more that 4,000 people and turn over approximately £310m per year - about 5 per cent of Peterborough’s total GDP.

The giant £40 million IKEA distribution centre with its dedicated junction on the Frank Perkins Parkway section of Peterborough’s dual carriageway ring road is solid evidence of the city’s unparalleled advantages as a logistics and distribution centre.

Peterborough’s geographical location – 80 miles north of London and within a four-hour drive of 85 per cent of Britain’s population – has always been an important sales message in persuading companies to relocate to the city. It enjoys immediate access to the A1(M) and proximity to other important routes such as the A14, M1, M6, M11 and M25.

Peterborough’s own highly efficient traffic system, which gives the city the fastest travel-to-work times in the country, is another plus point.

IKEA’s property manager Paul Jacobs said: “Peterborough is a first class location for our new distribution centre. We were attracted to the area by the proximity of Peterborough to the coastal ports and the city’s highly skilled workforce.”

At 1.4 million square feet the Peterborough distribution centre will be IKEA ’s biggest in the UK. With warehouse floor space equivalent to nearly 20 football pitches it will supply the company’s existing 11 stores and support an £800 million expansion programme under which 19 more stores will open by
2010.

The state-of-the-art centre, complete with computerised ‘pick-and-pack’ systems and a call centre, will create 450 jobs when it becomes operational next month (March).

February 2003

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