EPABuilding on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has announced additional EPA actions to curb emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning.

“The good progress we are making on restoring the earth’s ozone layer would not have been possible without a strong public-private sector partnership,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

EPA announced three new actions that will help support a transition to climate-friendly alternatives to HFCs, including:

  • listing additional fluorinated and non-fluorinated chemicals as acceptable alternatives in a variety of industry applications;
  • identifying refrigerant management options to reduce HFC emissions from air conditioning and refrigeration equipment; and
  • organizing with stakeholder engagement a series of sector-specific workshops on seeking transitions away from high global warming potential HFCs.

The GreenChill partnership

The new efforts build upon progress and commitments already made under EPA’s GreenChill partnership, which works with the supermarket industry to transition to climate-friendly refrigerants, reduce the amount of refrigerant used, and eliminate harmful refrigerant leaks. If supermarkets nationwide reduce refrigerant leaks to the current GreenChill Partner average of 12.4 percent, they could generate annual cost savings of over $100 million across the industry while preventing the annual emission of about 27 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2eq), which is equal to emissions from the generation of electricity use by more than 3.7 million homes annually.

Target, Kroger take steps

At the roundtable gathering, GreenChill Partners Target and Hillphoenix announced new commitments and technologies to curb potent greenhouse gases. Target announced that it is expanding its use of HFC-free refrigeration systems, partnering with chemical producers to test the next generation of climate-friendly refrigerants, and working with a beverage cooler manufacturer to test HFC-free solutions this fall. Hillphoenix announced that it is commercializing a new, more energy efficient, HFC-free CO2 booster system, and introducing an HFC-free hydrocarbon self-contained door case. Kroger and Port Townsend Food Co-op of Port Townsend, Wash., also announced that they joined EPA’s GreenChill Partnership.

Other private sector efforts provide a strong foundation for future progress.  EPA recently recognized 13 EPA GreenChill Partners with the following environmental achievement awards:

  • Best Corporate Emissions Rate: For the second consecutive year, Stater Bros. Markets earned the Partnership’s most prestigious award for lowering its already low refrigerants emissions rates across all their stores.
  • Most Improved Emissions Rate: Buehler’s Fresh Foods was honored with the Most Improved Emissions Rate award for achieving the Partnership’s largest refrigerant leak rate reduction from 2012 to 2013.
  • Superior Goal Achievement: The seven Superior Goal Achievement winners met challenging goals to reduce their refrigerant emissions. Winners include Brookshire Grocery Company, Buehler's Fresh Foods, Food Lion, King Kullen, Meijer, Sweetbay, and Weis Markets. King Kullen earned an Exceptional Goal Achievement award for meeting a second, more ambitious corporate goal for reducing refrigerant emissions.
  • Distinguished Partner: Raley’s was honored with the Distinguished Partner award for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and initiative during the year to further the GreenChill mission.

GreenChill’s Store Certification Program recognized stores for meeting strict performance criteria that demonstrate their refrigeration system has minimal impacts on the ozone layer and climate. GreenChill presented the following store certification awards:

  • Best of the Best Award:  The Whole Foods Market store in Brooklyn, N.Y., was honored for installing the most environmentally friendly refrigeration system of the 94 stores that earned GreenChill Certification over the last year. The Whole Foods store features an advanced centralized refrigeration system that uses only carbon dioxide as the refrigerant, which will lower the climate impact of refrigerant emissions by thousands of times compared with other common refrigerants used in supermarkets.
  • Store Certification Excellence Award:  Hillphoenix, Publix Super Markets, and Sprouts Farmer Market earned the award for achieving more GreenChill Store Certifications than their peers over the past year. The friendly store certification competition between Sprouts Farmer Market and Publix Super Markets resulted in 27 and 26 store certifications, respectively. Hillphoenix, as a leading refrigeration system manufacturer, was responsible for installing systems that met the stringent GreenChill certification criteria in 67 stores.
  • Store Re-Certification Award: For five consecutive years the five supermarkets who received this award met GreenChill’s stringent certification criteria. Winners include a Weis Markets store in Hanover, Pa., a Food Lion store in Columbia, S.C., a Sprouts Farmers Market store in San Diego, Calif., and two Publix Super Markets stores, in Winter Haven, Fla., and Suwanee, Ga.

More about the White House Industry Leader Roundtable and new private sector commitments and executive actions to reduce HFC emissions:  http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/16/fact-sheet-obama-administration-partners-private-sector-new-commitments-

More about the GreenChill Partnership and award winners: http://www2.epa.gov/greenchill

More about SNAP: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/