“We applaud the supermarket chains for their environmental leadership in minimizing refrigerant emissions and their adoption of advanced refrigeration technologies,” stated Anne Idsal, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s office of air and radiation. “They’re not just protecting the environment; they’re keeping costs down for themselves and their customers.”
EPA honored 13 participants in the agency’s GreenChill Partnership, which encourages reductions in supermarkets’ refrigerant leaks, which the EPA said can come at a high price, requiring replacement refrigerant, system maintenance and repairs.
Reducing leaks is also beneficial to the environment, as some refrigerants deplete the stratospheric ozone layer and are potent greenhouse gases.
Nearly 30% of stores nationwide participate in the GreenChill program, and the amount of refrigerant they emit is just a third of the national average for supermarkets, EPA said. “If all supermarkets nationwide reduced the amount of refrigerant they leak to the GreenChill Partner average, they could avoid $156 million each year in refrigerant-replacement costs,” according to a statement.
EPA recognized GreenChill partners in the following categories:
- Best Corporate Emissions Rate: Harris Teeter earned the program’s most prestigious recognition for achieving the lowest refrigerant emissions rate among supermarket chains last year. Cook County Whole Foods Co-op of Grand Marais, Minn., received this recognition for the category of small-independent grocers.
- Most Improved Emissions Rate: Hanover Co-op Food Store, of Hanover, N.H., achieved the largest refrigerant leak rate reduction compared to its reduction in the year it became a GreenChill partner. Westerly, R.I.-based McQuade’s Marketplace lowered its emissions rate more than any other partner compared to the previous year.
- Goal Achievement: EPA identified five “superior goal achievement” recipients, which voluntarily set and achieved their corporate goal for reducing refrigerant emissions. Recipients are Hy-Vee of West Des Moines, Iowa; King Kullen of Bethpage, N.Y.; Price Chopper of Schenectady, N.Y.; Raley’s of West Sacramento, Calif.; and Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market. EPA noted that reductions at Hy-Vee, King Kullen and Sprouts satisfied an even more stringent “stretch” goal in refrigerant emissions reduction.
- Distinguished Partner: Hy-Vee was also recognized for leadership through active participation and initiative in achieving GreenChill goals.
Additionally, GreenChill’s store certification program recognized certain stores for meeting strict performance criteria that demonstrate their refrigeration systems have minimal impacts on the ozone layer and climate. The program presented the following store certification recognitions:
- Best of the Best: Target Corp. took the honor for adopting innovative advanced refrigeration systems in multiple small-format stores using stand-alone refrigerated cases with a very small amount of an environmentally-friendlier refrigerant, EPA said.
- Store Certification Excellence: Aldi, based in Batavia, Ill., and Hillphoenix, headquartered in Conyers, Ga., were recognized for achieving more GreenChill store certifications than their peers over the past year. Aldi certified more stores than any supermarket chain has previously. For Hillphoenix, It was the eighth consecutive year that the retailer has achieved this recognition.
- Store Re-Certification: The Weis Markets store in Hanover, Pa., is the first store in the United States to be GreenChill certified for 10 consecutive years.
Eight stores were recognized for achieving GreenChill certification for five consecutive years. Among them is Sprouts Farmers Market, which achieved this honor for stores in Birmingham, Ala.; Lakeland, Tenn.; Madison, Ala.; Mansfield, Texas; Peoria, Ariz.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; and two stores in Kansas City, Mo.