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October 18, 2006

Lethally lit lunch

George Monbiot also writes about food in his book Heat (see below). Food retailers, especially, waste insane amounts of energy. They use seven times more power (275 k Wh per cubic metre) to run a food hall than is used in an office. For the larger stores, up to a quarter of that energy budget goes on lighting - which is to make the food look good, not for it to be good. Most of the rest (64 per cent) is used for refrigeration, which is also ruinously wasteful. Think of all those open-fronted units: A single open-fronted freezer costs a retailer 15000 pounds (22,000 euros) per year to run in energy bills alone.

Monbiot says we should replace out of town food retailing with warehouses that would service internet-enabled home delivery services. But even that sounds too transport-intensive if powered vehicles are to be involved. Bikes are the answer. Young lads seem happy to haul fat tourists around in rickshaws in London, so they (the lads) can retrained to do grocery runs, too.

Posted by John Thackara at October 18, 2006 04:14 PM

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