DALLAS — At the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) 2019 Energy & Store Development Conference, held recently in Dallas, Texas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized 13 organizations in the supermarket industry for their achievements in protecting the environment through noteworthy refrigerant management.

“We applaud the supermarket chains for their environmental leadership in minimizing refrigerant emissions and their adoption of advanced refrigeration technologies,” said Anne Idsal, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “They’re not just protecting the environment; they’re keeping costs down for themselves and their customers.”

The GreenChill partnership encourages reductions in refrigerant leaks that can have costly impacts for supermarkets. Leaky systems 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.

Over the past decade, participation in EPA’s GreenChill program has grown from 4,500 stores to over 11,000 stores nationwide, representing about 29 percent of the U.S. supermarket industry. GreenChill partners emit at least 65 percent less refrigerant than the average supermarket. 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.

EPA recognized GreenChill partners in the following categories:

Best Corporate Emissions Rate

Harris Teeter (Matthews, North Carolina) earned the program’s most prestigious recognition for achieving the lowest refrigerant emissions rate among retail supermarket chains last year. Cook County Whole Foods Co-op (Grand Marais, Minnesota) received this recognition for the category of small-independent grocers.

Most Improved Emissions Rate

Hanover Co-op Food Store (Hanover, New Hampshire) was recognized for achieving the program’s largest refrigerant leak rate reduction compared to the year it joined GreenChill. McQuade’s Marketplace (Westerly, Rhode Island) lowered its emissions rate more than any other partner compared to the previous year.

Goal Achievement

GreenChill’s five “superior goal achievement” recipients voluntarily set and achieved their challenging corporate goal for reducing refrigerant emissions. Recipients include Hy-Vee (West Des Moines, Iowa), King Kullen (Bethpage, New York), Price Chopper (Schenectady, New York), Raley’s (West Sacramento, California), and Sprouts Farmers Market (Phoenix, Arizona). Hy-Vee, King Kullen, and Sprouts Farmers Market earned “exceptional goal achievement” for meeting an even more stringent stretch goal to reduce refrigerant emissions.

Distinguished Partner

Hy-Vee was recognized for leadership through active participation and initiative in achieving GreenChill goals.

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. GreenChill presented the following store certification recognitions:

Best of the Best

Target (Minneapolis, Minnesota) was honored 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.

Store Certification Excellence

ALDI (Batavia, Illinois) and Hillphoenix (Conyers, Georgia) earned recognition for achieving more GreenChill store certifications than their peers over the past year. ALDI certified more stores than any supermarket chain has previously, all at the platinum-level.

“Over the last year, ALDI has transitioned to natural refrigerants (CO2) in hundreds of stores as part of our journey toward environmentally sustainable refrigeration systems,” said Aaron Sumida, vice president of ALDI. “This recognition from the GreenChill partnership is an important celebration of our journey as we continue to make strides in reducing our carbon emissions and finding innovative renewable solutions.”

Hillphoenix achieved this recognition for the eighth consecutive time.

“We are proud to be a founding member of the EPA's GreenChill program and very appreciative of the recognition of Hillphoenix’s continuous efforts to advance sustainable technologies in partnership with customers on best practices," said Scott Martin, director of business development and industry relations for Hillphoenix.

Store Re-Certification

The Weis Markets (Sunbury, Pennsylvania) store in Hanover, Pennsylvania 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. Sprouts Farmers Market achieved this honor for stores in Birmingham, Alabama; Lakeland, Tennessee; Madison, Alabama; Mansfield, Texas; Peoria, Arizona; Scottsdale, Arizona; and two stores in Kansas City, Missouri.