Price Chopper, a 131-store chain based in Schenectady, New York (U.S.), received three awards related to reducing its refrigerant leaks from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership on September 24 in an online ceremony.

GreenChill is a 13-year-old voluntary program in which food retailers pledge to cut refrigerant leaks and explore more sustainable refrigeration systems, including those using natural refrigerants. GreenChill also certifies individual stores that achieve low leak rates and charge levels, or install low-GWP refrigerants.

GreenChill’s retail partners include 26 companies encompassing 61 banners and 12,600 stores, about one-third of all U.S. supermarkets. The average leak rate of the stores is 14.3%, compared to an industry average of about 25%. 

However, many U.S. supermarkets in the GreenChill program still use high-GWP refrigerants. According to GreenChill, in 2019, 41% of the refrigerant used by partner companies was R404A (GWP 3,922); 6% was R507A (GWP 3,985); 23% was R407A (GWP 2,107); 14% was R22 GWP 1,810); and 8% was R448A/R449A (GWP 1,300/1,397), About 7% of the refrigerants used was “other” (including natural refrigerants like CO2).

Best in chain category

Price Chopper was recognized for having the best emissions rate in 2019 in the chain category, the most improved emissions rate (from 2018 to 2019) and superior goal achievement for achieving its annual GreenChill refrigerant emissions goal in 2019.

Cook County Whole Foods Co-op, located in Grand Marais, Minnesota (U.S.), won the award for best emissions rate in the small independent category. Other chains cited for superior goal achievement include Meijer, Weis Markets and Whole Foods Market.

Weis Markets, based in Sunbury, Pennsylvania (U.S.), was also recognized for exceptional goal achievement in 2019, attaining its “stretch” leak reduction goal. 

Meijer, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan (U.S.), was also recognized for as having the best GreenChill-certified store (best of the best). The store was selected for having the “highest estimated avoided emissions of any store in the awards cycle,” said Kirsten Cappel, manager of the GreenChill program, who named the award winners.

ALDI US and Hillphoenix received the store certification excellence award, ALDI US for having the most GreenChill certified stores in the past year (July 1, 2019-June 20, 2020), Hillphoenix for supplying the most certified stores with refrigeration equipment. Both companies have won this award in previous years. ALDI US is the leading retail end user of transcritical CO2 in the U.S. while Hillphoenix is the leading supplier of those systems.

GreenChill also named individual stores that have renewed their store certification for five consecutive years. These include:

  • ALDI – Carthage, New York 
  • ALDI – Webster, New York
  • Food Lion – Southport, North Carolina
  • Hannaford – North Berwick, Maine
  • Sprouts Farmers Market – Hurst, Texas
  • Sprouts Farmers Market – San Rafael, California
  • Sprouts Farmers Market, Oakland, California
  • Sprouts Farmers Market – Wheat Ridge, Colorado
  • Sprouts Farmers Market – Roswell, Georgia
  • Sprouts Farmers Market – Marietta, Georgia
  • Sprouts Farmers Market – Germantown, Tennessee

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