WASHINGTON – Giant Eagle and Food Lion are among the 17 organizations and individuals — including just four corporations — that will receive the 2010 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Montreal Protocol Award at a ceremony here next week.
The winners of this award are being recognized for making outstanding contributions toward protecting the ozone layer, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving public awareness about environmental issues. Food Lion and Giant Eagle are the only supermarket companies to ever receive the award.
Other award recipients include scientists, federal investigators, international government officials, and a pop music artist. The awards will be given on Sept. 23 to commemorate the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer. The Montreal Protocol, which went into effect in 1989 and has been signed by 196 countries, was designed to reduce and eventually eliminate ozone-depleting substances.
"Recognizing these accomplishments is important to foster innovation and inspire others to make a difference in protecting the environment," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, in a statement. The awards “prove again that the Montreal Protocol has been instrumental in accelerating international commitments that will leave our planet a healthier, safer place for our children and grandchildren."
With more than 1,200 stores, Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C., was one of the first companies to commit to EPA’s GreenChill Partnership a voluntary program aimed at refrigerant emissions and charge reduction. In 2009, Food Lion converted 103 systems at 70 stores using R-22, an ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), to alternative refrigerants. Through routine leak testing, quarterly reporting, and benchmarking by maintenance technicians on leak rates, the chain has achieved a 7.4% reduction in its corporate-wide commercial refrigeration emissions rate since joining GreenChill.
Food Lion was the first GreenChill partner to pioneer the new generation of secondary loop refrigeration systems in medium-temperature and low-temperature systems. Data from these systems were instrumental in the success and expansion of secondary loop technology throughout the supermarket industry, said the EPA. In 2009 and 2010, Food Lion opened three stores that use cascading carbon dioxide refrigeration systems, two of which received GreenChill Gold-Level Store Certification for store emissions reductions of 75% vs. the industry norm.
"Food Lion has been at the forefront of every major innovation in supermarket refrigeration technology for the past three years," said Keilly Witman, Manager of EPA's GreenChill Partnership. "It is hard to make environmental advances if no one is willing to be the first to try out environmentally friendlier technologies. GreenChill has come to count on Food Lion to be the first, and Food Lion continues to rise to the occasion."
"Food Lion has a long-standing commitment to protecting the environment, identifying ways to become more energy efficient and ensuring we are a socially responsible corporation," said Susan Sollenberger, director of energy and facility services at parent company Delhaize America, in a statement. Food Lion has a number of new sustainability initiatives under way, including efforts to minimize ozone depletion by reducing refrigerants and selecting more environmentally-friendly alternatives for facilities and stores, said Sollenberger.
Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, another founding member of GreenChill, has reduced its corporate-wide refrigerant emissions rate to 7%, compared to an industry average of 20%-25%, said the EPA. Giant Eagle continues to design and build stores to minimize emissions, using well-designed piping arrangements, a minimum of mechanical joints, low-leakage components, proper pipe supports and good pressure testing and evacuation procedures, the agency said, adding that medium-temperature secondary loop systems with glycol are now standard in new stores. Giant Eagle’s effort to reduce refrigerant emissions resulted in the Giant Eagle Carbon Credit project, approved by the Voluntary Carbon Standard Association.
Giant Eagle was the first GreenChill partner to reduce its corporate-wide refrigerant emissions rate to below 10%, “a feat that most in the industry said couldn't be done,” said Witman. The chain has won GreenChill's “Best Emissions Rate” Award every year since GreenChill was founded in 2007.
“We’re honored to help lead our industry in ozone protection and refrigeration management by advancing new technology and best practices,” said Kevin Shelton, vice president of store planning, equipment buying and engineering, and Aetos Construction, Giant Eagle.