• Supermarkets cut down on harmful emissions

Supermarkets cut down on harmful emissions

Nov 09 2012 Read 448 Times

A scheme launched by the US government will see the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted from supermarkets fall significantly.

At the moment, 70 per cent of American supermarkets use direct expansion systems to chill their food.

These systems leak around 20 per cent of the 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of refrigerant they use on average per year.

The most common refrigerants include a whole host of harmful greenhouse gases - which, once emitted, can have a seriously negative effect on the ozone.

In an attempt to combat this problem, the Environmental Protection Agency created the GreenChill partnership five years ago.

This scheme works with food retailers to help them make the move to greener refrigerator systems.

GreenChill partnership wants the majority of supermarkets to have less leaky refrigeration systems.

To entice shops and supermarkets to work with the programme, GreenChill offers certificates and awards to those who manage to reduce emissions.

Uptake has been good, and the scheme currently has 54 retailers with a total of 8,000 stores taking part.

This represents around 20 per cent of the supermarket industry. In another 20 years, 100 per cent of the supermarket industry could be involved.

It is thought that the reason other companies are not making the switch is the price of the move.

"Cost is a deterrent - the industry has razor thin margins as it is - but given [that] energy is one of the major operating costs, stores are evaluating options to cut down on energy," said Dave Heylen, a spokesman for the California Grocer's Association.

"It's also that in this economy, while the industry would like to cut down on emissions, investing in it right now may be hard for some," he said.

It is not simply installation and maintenance cost that serve as a deterrent to some shop owners. Some are fearful of the reliability of the new system.

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