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WASHINGTON - Several leading supermarkets joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, refrigeration equipment, and chemical refrigerant industries representatives to launch the new GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership - a voluntary program to promote green technologies, strategies, and practices at retail that protect the stratospheric ozone layer, reduce greenhouse gases, and save money.
"As a company, we try to do the right thing," Susan Sollenberger, dir. of equipment purchasing for Salisbury, N.C.-based Food Lion, one of the chain in attendance, told Progressive Grocer following the official launch. "We joined the voluntary program to help reduce our emissions. We think we're doing a good job already, but this is a way to benchmark ourselves against other folks and help bring it along in the industry."
Food Lion was one of the first U.S. grocery chains to join the GreenChill partnership, when it signed a pledge in January 2007 to go above and beyond regulatory requirements in protecting the ozone layer and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The retailer demonstrated its leadership in the program by hosting a tour of a new refrigeration system it installed in its Montpelier, Va. store. The system uses naturally occurring CO2 gas to refrigerate food product.
"This is the official launch of GreenChill, but we started working with EPA on the program about two years ago," said Food Lion's Sollenberger. "We worked with EPA to help them decide what makes sense, what doesn't make sense, what types of reporting is out there, and the best way to track [emissions] information."
Hill Phoenix, a designer and manufacturer of commercial refrigeration systems, developed this system, called Second Nature.
The 10 GreenChill founding partners are Food Lion, LLC; Whole Foods Market; Giant Eagle, Inc.; Hannaford Bros. Co.; Harris Teeter; Hill Phoenix; Honeywell International; Kysor//Warren; Publix Super Markets, Inc.; and E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.
The partners must pledge to go above and beyond regulatory requirements by establishing an inventory of current refrigerant emissions that may affect climate change and the stratospheric ozone layer, and then setting reduction targets for these emissions. Partners will also participate in an industry/government research initiative to assess the performance of cutting edge "green" technologies in terms of energy efficiency, reduction of ozone-depleting refrigerant charges, and minimization of refrigerant leaks.
"As Americans make greener choices, we look for companies that support a greener lifestyle," said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "The GreenChill logo is a clear sign of a supermarket's environmental commitment. It shows that GreenChill members are doing their utmost to save the ozone layer."
EPA estimated that widespread adoption of advanced refrigeration technologies, best practices, and improved equipment design and service could reduce refrigerant emissions by one million metric tons of carbon equivalent per year, the equivalent of taking 800,000 automobiles off the road every year.
According to EPA, the GreenChill partners' adoption of advanced refrigeration technologies, such as the Second Nature system used by Food Lion, will lead to increased energy efficiency and reduce operating expenses to the industry by over $12 million annually.