A Midland building services engineering firm has fitted out the UK's largest food complex with the latest energy saving equipment.

Birchall, based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, designed, developed and installed rainwater harvesting and waste heat recovery technology for Tesco's newly opened 73,000 sq m distribution centre at Livingston in Scotland as part of a £2.5 million contract with Taylor Woodrow Construction.

The centre - even larger than Heathrow's new Terminal 5 - incorporates a giant "larder" equivalent in size to ten full-size football pitches.

Tesco is now able to use rainwater collected and stored in special storage tanks as the coolant for its cooling towers that maintain the temperatures within the chilled and freezer warehouse.

Rainwater is also used in the automated washing of nearly 10,000 plastic food trays an hour - by installing two vertical storage tanks

and filtration equipment. Birchall also helped to save the retailer around £17,000 a year in energy costs by installing a recuperation system to recover energy from the effluent dis-charge from the tray washing machines.

Project director Mark Jennings said: "This was one of our most intense and involved projects. Despite inclement weather and design changes our on-site team led by Calvin Booth successfully completed on schedule."

Livingston is the sixth new Tesco centre to have been completed by Birchall.