UK retail chain Marks & Spencer will open its first two “eco-stores” next month.

The stores, both in Scotland, are designed to be environmentally-friendly – using less energy and emmiting 95% less carbon dioxide.

It is just one of the measures M&S has taken under the company’s much-publised GBP200m (US$406m) Plan A green commitment.

The stores, to be based in Galashiels and Pollok, use lobby areas to improve air tightness and minimise heat and energy loss, together with more efficient lighting, refrigeration and heating and ventilation systems, the company said.

M&S has installed roof mounted sun pipes and wind catchers on the stores, and hot water will be generated through heat recovered from the refrigeration plant. Daylight sensors will be installed in the windows to ensure that the lights only come on when needed.

The company’s Pollok store, located at Silverburn Retail Park just outside Glasgow, will be powered by fully renewable energy sourced from the first M&S wind turbine located in Aberdeenshire, the company added.

Niall Trafford, executive of store design and specification at M&S, said “Making our stores more ‘eco-efficient’ is a challenge that we are determined to tackle, especially if we are to meet M&S’ target of becoming carbon neutral by 2012.”