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Tesco-owned Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market has joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership, voluntarily committing to reduce refrigerant emissions to minimize the impact on climate change and protect the ozone layer.
“By being thoughtful in how we operate all parts of our business, we’ve been able to make a significant difference in our overall environmental impact,” said Tim Mason CEO of El Segundo, Calif.-based Fresh & Easy. “We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint – from energy-efficient refrigeration units to skylights in stores to our solar panel installation on our distribution center.”
According to GreenChill, the industry average for refrigerant leakage is 25 percent. Fresh & Easy reports that its current leak rate is well under 10 percent, due to advanced refrigeration technologies and the company’s use of a refrigeration system alarm center and leak detection program to actively monitor and respond to refrigerant leaks quickly.
“Since the program’s inception a year and a half ago, GreenChill's partners have proven themselves to be leaders in reducing supermarkets’ effect on the ozone layer and climate change,” said Keilly Witman of EPA's Stratospheric Protection Division.
In addition to Fresh & Easy’s efforts to reduce refrigerant emissions, the company also stresses energy efficiency. Characteristics of the company’s refrigeration units include energy-efficient doors on freezer and dairy coolers, which use triple-pane glass with an anti-fog coating that eliminates the need for door heaters to reduce icing or fogging. In addition, refrigeration cases use night curtains to conserve energy while ensuring the food stays at the appropriate temperature when the stores are closed. Plus, LED lighting is used in all freezer and dairy cases.
Fresh & Easy has also committed to build LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) -certified buildings, and voluntarily joined The Climate Registry to disclose its greenhouse gas emissions. The Tesco-owned company additionally invested in a 500,000-square-foot solar roof installation on its distribution center in Riverside, Calif., which currently produces over 75 percent of the center’s energy.
EPA’s GreenChill Partnership works with food retailers to promote green technologies, strategies, and practices that protect the ozone layer, reduce greenhouse gases and save money. Under the agreement with the EPA, Fresh & Easy has committed to the following:
--Requiring all new and remodeled stores to be free of ozone-depleting substances, in advance of the Clean Air Act phase-out requirements
--Establishing a refrigerant emissions inventory and meeting annual refrigerant emissions reduction targets
--Developing a refrigeration management plan that lists technologies, strategies and practices used to achieve refrigerant emissions reductions goals
According to the EPA, GreenChill’s food retail partners have refrigerant emissions rates that are nearly 50 percent lower than the EPA-estimated industry average. These partners are responsible for a reduction in refrigerant greenhouse gas emissions totaling 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in their first year as GreenChill partners -- equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 500,000 cars. In addition to the environmental benefits of their participation in GreenChill, these partners also saved almost $13 million in operating costs.