Australian retail group Woolworths has opened what it describes as “Australia’s first green supermarket” at Rouse Hill in Sydney.

The retailer said the opening of the store is part of its “ongoing commitment to incorporate sustainability principles into all aspects of its business”. The Rouse Hill unit is the first of five such stores under development.

The food retailing industry has a significant impact on the environment due to the energy used for refrigeration and temperature control, the company said, and Woolworths is taking a leadership role by making significant changes to the way its business operates.

Woolworths CEO Michael Luscombe said Woolworths understands the scale of its environmental impact and was developing ways to improve its ecological footprint.

The supermarket has been designed to reduce energy and water usage, minimise waste and the use of harmful materials. Special design features include automated energy management systems for lighting control, and the use of state-of-the-art greenhouse-friendly refrigerants.