ENERGY-efficient light maker Sola Skylights UK has helped in the creation of the country's first eco-friendly super- store.

The County Durham company has supplied 28 of its sky tunnels, which channel natural light into buildings through an insulated tube, to the Proudfoot store in Seamer, near Scarborough.

The shop, part of the North Yorkshire-based Proudfoot supermarket chain, has become what is thought to be the first of its kind by using natural light instead of artificial light.

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Sola Skylines, based in Shildon, last week told The Northern Echo of its intentions to treble turnover to £6m in the next five years, and its sky tunnels have been identified as a key product in its growth as more companies and households turn to eco-friendly energy.

Peter Wood, marketing manager at the company, said he hoped other supermarket chains would follow Proudfoot's lead by installing sky tunnels.

"This can help revolutionise the shopping experience here in the UK," he said.

"There are so many benefits for any retailer who decides to use natural light - energy savings, a more pleasant atmosphere for customers and staff, enhanced, environmentally-aware brand positioning - all from an asset that is literally on the doorstep."

Terry Petch, project manager of the Proudfoot Group, said it would help the store cut costs.

"We've been spending a small fortune on electricity bills," he said. "Although the store will of course also require artificial lighting, they will only be on when they are needed."