The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that as of early August, it had quadrupled the number of participants in its voluntary program designed to reduce the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants in the nation’s grocery stores.
Launched in November 2007, the GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership has the EPA working with supermarkets to achieve environmental goals that also help the bottom line.
“Supermarket managers and employees want to do the right thing when it comes to the environment, and they know their customers are looking for responsible environmental stewardship,” the EPA said in a statement. “Factor in the cost savings and it’s easy to see why GreenChill has grown rapidly.”
According to the report, the program now includes more than 6,500 stores in 47 states. In 2008, partners reduced their aggregate total emissions by 8.5 percent.
“This is the beginning of a partnership that is going to help us reduce significant amounts of ozone depleting refrigerant and other emissions, cut costs for supermarkets and consumers, and protect our health and the environment, “ said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “EPA will continue working to find a path forward that rewards the mutual interests of our supermarkets and the environmental health of the communities they serve.”
Compared to the supermarket industry as a whole, GreenChill partners emit significantly fewer ozone-depleting refrigerant emissions and greenhouse gases, and save money at the same time, the EPA said. EPA officials estimate that if all U.S. supermarkets reduced emissions to the current GreenChill average, the nation could save the equivalent of 22 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and 240 ozone-depleting potential tons each year - equal to the annual emissions from more than 4 million cars. This carries a cost savings of $108 million in refrigerant expenses annually.
To highlight the program’s top-performing participants, GreenChill recently implemented a Store Certification Awards Program. This component recognizes retail stores that achieve at least a 50 percent reduction in refrigerant charge and a 75 percent reduction in refrigerant emissions, resulting in either gold- or silver-level certification.
To date, seven stores have been awarded GreenChill gold, and three stores have been awarded the silver.
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