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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership, voluntarily committing to reduce refrigerant emissions to minimize the impact on climate change and protect the ozone layer.
EPA is very proud to welcome Fresh & Easy into the GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership," said Keilly Witman of EPA's Stratospheric Protection Division. "Since the program's inception a year and a half ago, GreenChill's partners have proven themselves to be leaders in reducing supermarkets' effect on the ozone layer and climate change. Fresh & Easy is a welcome addition to that effort."
The grocery industry average for refrigerant leakage is 25 percent, according to GreenChill. Fresh & Easy's current leak rate is well under 10 percent, thanks to advanced refrigeration technologies and the company's use of a refrigeration system alarm center and leak detection program to actively monitor and respond to refrigerant leaks quickly.
In addition to Fresh & Easy's efforts to reduce refrigerant emissions, the company also stresses energy efficiency. Characteristics of the company's refrigeration units include: Energy-efficient doors on freezer and dairy doors with triple-pane glass with an anti-fog coating that eliminates the need for door heaters for icing or fogging; refrigeration cases with night curtains to conserve energy while ensuring the food stays at the appropriate temperature when the stores are closed; and LED lighting in the freezer and diary cases.
"By being thoughtful in how we operate all parts of our business, we've been able to make a significant difference in our overall environmental impact," said Fresh & Easy CEO Tim Mason. "We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint—from energy efficient refrigeration units to skylights in stores to our solar panel installation on our distribution center." Fresh & Easy has committed to build Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings, and voluntarily joined The Climate Registry to disclose its greenhouse gas emissions. The company invested in a 500,000-square-foot solar roof installation on its distribution center in Riverside, Calif., which produces more than 75 percent of the center's energy.
EPA's GreenChill Partnership works with food retailers to promote green technologies, strategies and practices that protect the ozone layer, reduce greenhouse gases and save money. Under the agreement with the EPA, Fresh & Easy requires all new and remodeled stores to be free of ozone-depleting substances, in advance of the Clean Air Act phase-out requirements; established a refrigerant emissions inventory and meets annual refrigerant emissions reduction targets; and developed a refrigeration management plan that lists technologies, strategies and practices used to achieve refrigerant emissions reduction goals.
According to the EPA, GreenChill's food retail partners have refrigerant emissions rates nearly 50 percent lower than the EPA-estimated industry average. These partners are responsible for a reduction in refrigerant greenhouse gas emissions totaling 2.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in their first year as GreenChill partners, a sum equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 500,000 cars.
In addition to the environmental benefits of their participation in GreenChill, these partners also saved almost $13 million in operating costs.
At roughly 10,000 square feet, Fresh & Easy markets offer fresh, prepared meals and produce and nationally branded products at everyday low prices.
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