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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has presented Food Lion and Giant Eagle with 2010 Montreal Protocol Awards in recognition of the retailers’ protection of the ozone layer. The companies were the only supermarket operators so honored. An international panel of judges representing government, industry, and non-governmental organizations reviewed the nominations before choosing the final 19 recipients, which hailed from around the globe.
Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, which operates more than 1,300 supermarkets, either directly or through affiliated entities, under the Food Lion, Bloom, Harveys and Reid’s banners, was one of the first companies to join EPA’s GreenChill Partnership. Through routine leak testing, quarterly reporting and benchmarking by maintenance technicians on leak rates, the grocer achieved a 7.4-percent reduction in its companywide commercial refrigeration emissions rate since committing to the program in 2007.
Additionally, Food Lion was the first GreenChill partner to pioneer the new generation of secondary loop refrigeration systems in medium- and low-temperature systems, which led to the expansion of the technology throughout the supermarket industry. Another example of the company’s leadership in the realm of refrigeration technology adoption was the recent installation of cascading CO2 refrigeration systems in three stores.
“Food Lion has a long-standing commitment to protecting the environment, identifying ways to become more energy efficient and ensuring we are a socially responsible corporation,” noted Susan Sollenberger, director of energy and facility services at Delhaize America and its Food Lion division. "We have a number of sustainability initiatives underway, including efforts to minimize ozone depletion by reducing refrigerants and selecting more environmentally-friendly alternatives for our facilities and stores. We believe this is the right thing to do as global and responsible corporate citizens.”
Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle, which operates 224 supermarkets as well as 157 fuel and convenience stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland, has received the GreenChill Best Emissions Rate Award every year to date. While “refrigerant leak rates in the supermarket industry are usually estimated at 20 percent to 25 percent annually, Giant Eagle’s investment in infrared leak detection management systems has led to a corporatewide refrigerant emissions rate of just 7 percent.
The company continues to design and build stores to reduce emissions, employing well-designed piping arrangements, a minimum of mechanical joints, low-leakage components, proper pipe supports and good pressure testing and evacuation procedures. Medium-temperature secondary loop systems with glycol are currently standard in new stores.
“Our multiple partnerships with the EPA are a significant piece of our overall sustainability strategy, which also includes our energy management efforts and recycling initiatives,” noted Giant Eagle EVP of real estate and development Shelly Sponholz. “We truly believe that our environmental commitment is a vital part to the success of both our communities and our business, as so many of the sustainable projects we undertake produce tangible benefits to each.”
Giant Eagle’s effort to lower refrigerant emissions has resulted in the Giant Eagle Carbon Credit project, approved by the Voluntary Carbon Standard Association and the first of its kind to be published worldwide.
The awards presentation took place during a formal ceremony at the Canadian embassy in Washington on Sept. 23.