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In addition to its partnership with commercial refrigeration systems manufacturer Hill Phoenix on the design and installation of the first next-generation CO2 refrigeration system in North America at a newly remodeled store in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Price Chopper has other environmentally friendly irons in the fire.
The new refrigeration unit has 3,000 times less global warming potential than older refrigerant systems because it reuses CO2 already in the air, according to the regional grocer.
Other green programs underway at Price Chopper include:
--A continuous improvement effort that has led to a reduction in lighting and oven usage overnight, reduced neon signage, lighting and fan retrofits, excess spotlight removal, motion sensor installations, and an ongoing chainwide energy awareness campaign, which has resulted in a 10 percent reduction of comparable energy usage, saving nearly 5 million kWh of electricity and 500,000 therms of natural gas.
--The chain’s new Colonie, N.Y. store will be the first silver level LEED-certified supermarket in New York State.
--Its new state-of-the-art main office complex in downtown Schenectady, N.Y., a six-story, 240,000-square-foot building, will incorporate recycled materials wherever possible, daylight harvesting, raise flooring throughout the building to allow for more efficient installation of electrical and HVAC components, energy management controls, rainwater harvesting for irrigation, fuel cells to supplement power from the grid, and photovoltaics as it pursues gold-level LEED certification.
As Progressive Grocer first reported in May, when the collaboration between Price Chopper and Hill Phoenix first became known, a major advantage benefit of using CO2 in a cascade system is the lower cost of refrigerant, since CO2 is 50 cents a pound, compared with $7 or $8 per pound for hydrofluorocarbons.
Among the system's other advantages are smaller line sizes, reduced copper piping, increased system efficiency, and the ability to reduce a store's carbon footprint. The system is employed in the Saratoga Springs store’s frozen food and ice cream departments.
Price Chopper is currently evaluating the maintenance and efficiency of the system, with plans to roll it out to other locations.