Attended by over 600 people, the FMI Energy & Store Development Conference focuses on energy-efficiency and conservation in the food retail industry, as well as the latest innovations in store design and merchandising. Kicking off the event as in previous years was the EPA’s GreenChill Awards ceremony, a program that recognises individual stores for investments made in environmentally sound commercial refrigeration systems. 

GreenChill effect: increased investments in lower GWP refrigerants

 Drussila Hufford, Director of the Stratospheric Protection Division at Environmental Protection Agency, gave the opening presentation to the GreenChill ceremony, explaining that Greenchill is designed to share information and best practice, and “to spur really fast evolution of an entire sector.”  

According to Hufford the changes in refrigerants used in North American commercial refrigeration installations are reflected in similar changes made by GreenChill Partners. From the sector’s initial reliance on CFCs, gases with a high GWP (global warming potential) and high ODP (ozone depletion potential) – now banned, the first pilot projects using low and zero GWP and zero ODP refrigerants have started to appear, including a number of natural refrigerant stores.   

For GreenChill partners, this has resulted in the following progression: 

  • In 2007: 68.8% of commercial refrigeration systems used an ozone depleting substance, with 63.8% using R22. The average ozone layer impact per store was 110.6, whilst the average climate impact per stores was 448. Of all racks sold, 52.3% were centralised DX systems, and 47.7% were total advanced systems.
  • In 2013: 38.8% of commercial refrigeration systems used an ozone depleting substance. The average ozone layer impact per store dropped to 47.1, whilst the average climate impact per stores was 379. Of all racks sold, 42.8% were centralised DX systems, and 57.2% were total advanced systems.

GreenChill has potential to save supermarket industry $100,000,000  

In just five years, GreenChill has expanded to over 8,000 partner stores in all fifty states. Today, 22% of all US stores are GreenChill partners. It is estimated that if every U.S. supermarket met GreenChill benchmarks the supermarket industry would reduce emissions by 22 MMTCO2eq & 238 ODP ton. What is more, the industry would save $100,000,000 in reduced refrigerant replacement costs. 

Largest number of Platinum certified CO2 transcritical stores in Canada 

Since Canadian company Carnot Refrigeration joined the EPA’s GreenChill Partnership in February 2014, 31 stores using the system manufacturers environmentally friendly CO2 transcritical refrigeration systems have been awarded the GreenChill platinum certificate. This is the highest number of GreenChill certified CO2 stores in North America. 

Friendly competition between US retailers spurs climate friendly refrigeration revolution 

In the US leading CO2 system manufacturer Hillphoenix has had 67 store certifications, 41 in the last year, for which it received the “Store Certification Excellence”. Scott Martin, Hillphoenix’s Director of Sustainable Technolgies was presented the award by Tom Land, head of the EPA’s Greenhill Program. 

Two of the Hillphonix CO2 transcritical stores have also been awarded GreenChill platinum certificates. One of these, a Whole Foods in Brooklyn New York, was named GreenChill’s ‘Best of the Best’. The store, which is built using reclaimed and repurposed materials, features a number of green technologies, including: 

  • State-of-the-art Hillphoenix CO2 transcritical booster refrigeration system
  • Car charging stations powered by wind and solar energy, 
  • Self-generated light-emitting diode (LED) parking lot lighting
  • Six solar canopies (with a total capacity of 324 kW) that cover the parking lot and will produce electricity for the cars as well as covering roughly 29% of store’s electricity demand

 Mike Ellinger, Global Maintenance and Refrigeration Coordinator for Whole Foods, was at the ceremony to receive the “Best of the best” award.  Other GreenChill awards announced at the ceremony were as follows: 

  • Store Certification Excellence (supermarkets): Publix and Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Store Re-Certification Excellence: Food Lion, Columbia, SC, Publix, Suwanee, GA, and Publix Winer Have, FL, Sprouts Farmers Market, San Diego CA, Weis, Hanover PA
  • Distinguished partner: Raleys


FMI Energy & Store Development Conference event webpage