The 78-cover restaurant took 13 weeks to build and was developed to explore ways in which building, operating and maintaining a coffee shop can be as sustainable and low-energy as possible.
The site will act as a test bed, with plans for future openings to incorporate the lessons learned to help drive down energy consumption across the business.
“This is an exciting first for coffee shop and retail design here in the UK and has the potential to transform not just how we build new stores at Costa but the industry far more widely,” said Jim Slater, managing director of Costa UK and Ireland.
“We wanted to explore new ways to serve quality coffee to our customers while managing our environmental footprint as responsibly as we can. Through a successful partnership with Hammerson we have developed an outstanding new type of test bed building design which really does have the potential to make a massive difference if rolled out more widely.”
Though the internal operating equipment, including espresso machines and panini grills, will use power in the conventional way, energy costs are minimised by using passive ventilation and solar PV cells embedded in the curved roof to heat and cool the building.
Costa will monitor and evaluate the performance of the eco-pod over the next 6-12 months before deciding how its design can be implemented across other stores.
The coffee company is part of Whitbread Plc, which has invested millions in safeguarding its hotel brands against rising energy costs as part of the Good Together sustainability programme. The group has also considered scrapping baths in its Premier Inn sites in a bid to conserve water and improve its carbon footprint.