WASHINGTON — Even retailers that haven't joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership stand to gain from some new documents the EPA has just released.
GreenChill, which was launched last November, is a free, voluntary program that is designed to help retailers address some of the thorny challenges associated with refrigeration, such as leaks, refrigeration retrofits and refrigerant quantity reduction. So far, 22 supermarket banners have joined GreenChill.
Earlier this month, at the Food Marketing Institute's Energy & Technical Services Conference in Orlando, Fla., Keilly Witman, EPA's communication specialist, office of atmospheric programs, announced that GreenChill had just released best-practices guidelines for refrigerant retrofits, which involve replacing R-22 refrigerant in existing stores with an HFC (non-ozone-depleting) refrigerant.
“We became concerned that retrofits were not being done the way they should be,” said Witman, the EPA's contact person for the GreenChill program. The guidelines, available at epa.gov/greenchill/ptnrresources.html, address everything from leak-tightness to R-22 handling, and include a number of case studies.
The EPA has also just released on its website a best-practices document on leak-tightness for equipment installation, a step-by-step guide to making sure newly installed refrigeration equipment is leak-tight.
Another new document on the EPA's website is an energy efficiency study of advanced refrigeration systems, such as secondary-loop and distributed systems. The study concludes that these systems are “good alternatives [to DX systems] in terms of energy,” said Witman.
The EPA launched a new advanced refrigeration system certification program for supermarkets at the conference. Not restricted to GreenChill partners, the program will present Gold or Silver certification to stores that meet EPA's desired level of refrigerant charge reduction and leak-tightness in their refrigeration systems, and that don't use R-22.
To be considered for certification, a store does not have to use a secondary-loop or distributed system; direct-expansion (DX) systems that meet the criteria are eligible.
The EPA has also made available on its website in-store marketing ideas for GreenChill retailers, including cooler and shelf stickers and nondisposable shopping bag designs.