Why Our Green Chill Work is Cool for the Climate and the Company

Refrigeration plays a key role throughout the grocery supply chain, notably in manufacturing, transport, bulk storage and the retail end of operations. Not surprisingly then, refrigeration also contributes heavily to both energy use and CO2 emissions. Industry-wide it creates more than 50 percent of the CO2 emissions from supermarkets, and up to 80 percent from frozen and chilled food manufacture, meat processing and cold storage.

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To help mitigate the environmental and energy drain posed by refrigeration, Meijer is a member of the Green Chill program organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Green Chill works with food retailers across the UN to help transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants, lower refrigerant charge sizes and eliminate leaks. It also helps with the adoption of green refrigeration technologies and best practices.

From 2014 to 2015, we reduced our refrigerant emissions by 13.6 percent, and the carbon footprint of refrigerant leakage by 15.6 percent. This was achieved by installing leak detection monitors, lower pressure systems to reduce leaks, and switching to refrigerants that have a lower global warming potential (GWP) where possible.

In 2016, Green Chill credited Meijer with a Superior Goal Achievement Award for meeting “challenging goals to reduce refrigerant emissions.” In addition, since we improved the design of our refrigeration system in 2013, we’ve reduced the amount of refrigerant used per store from about 4,400 pounds to about 2,500 pounds. And the less refrigeration gas we use, the less chance there is of a leak. We’ve also reduced piping, copper and installation costs in new stores.