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Hanover Co-op Earns EPA Award for Emissions Reduction

  • The Hanover Co-op Food Stores have earned top recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency for its work reducing refrigerant emissions. Among the 10,800 GreenChill Partnership grocery stores in the United States, the Hanover Co-op has recorded the greatest improved emissions since joining the partnership (82.9% reduction since 2011), as well as the most improved emission rate from the previous year (a 77.4% reduction from 2015 to 2016). (Photograph courtesy of the Hanover Co-op Food Stores)

Published: 10/8/2017 1:13:02 AM
Modified: 10/8/2017 1:40:23 AM

Hanover — The Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the Hanover Co-op Food Stores for reducing refrigerant emissions 82.9 percent since 2011, the greatest improvement among the 10,800 grocery stores across the United States that participate in the EPA’s GreenChill Partnership, which focuses on emission reduction.

“The team at our Co-op has made massive improvements to our systems. We’re saving money, helping the planet, and we’ve even hosted webinars to share our knowledge with big grocery chains and other co-ops,” Hanover Co-op facilities manager Tom Guillette said in a news release.

According to the EPA, an average grocery store can leak up to 1,000 pounds of refrigerant gas into the atmosphere each year, contributing to pollution and ozone depletion. The GreenChill Partnership encourages grocers to focus on reducing leaks, which has economic benefits for the businesses as well as the environment.

Leaks are often caused as equipment ages and miles of high-pressure, closed-loop tubing suffers wear and tear during thousands of hours of operation. “Each time the system compressors start (hundreds of times per day), the plumbing vibrates and chafe against the cases. Over time, holes wear into the piping causing loss of refrigerant and products,” the release said.

“Before we joined GreenChill it was not uncommon to have emission rates of 50 percent across our organization, downtime of days, and related costs exceeding $300,000 per year in repairs and refrigerant,” Guillette said. Over the past five years, the Co-op has invested in refrigeration system upgrades and repairs to increase efficiency. The effort resulted in a 77.4 percent reduction in emissions between 2015 and 2016, for which the EPA also recognized the organization.

The Co-op made the following upgrades at each of its locations:

New Hussmann Protocol high-efficiency refrigeration systems were installed in the White River Junction store.

A completely new system was installed during the Hanover store’s renovation, including state-of-the-art rooftop Trillium condensers from Baltimore Air Coil, which are approximately 60 percent more energy efficient than conventional condensing units.

The replacement of single-unit rooftops that used high ozone-depleting and high global-warming potential refrigerants with new units and safer refrigerant.

The replacement of numerous medium-temperature cases with ones featuring sealed doors.

Upgrading the Co-op’s Danfoss monitoring systems so that any change in case temperature pressures and equipment failures will be messaged directly to the facilities department.

“I admire the way Tom and his crew have remained committed to this effort. We saw big improvements after the first year,” Hanover Co-op General Manager Ed Fox said in the release. “It improves our Co-op, our community and the environment, and it feels especially nice to have the Environmental Protection Agency recognize their hard work.”

“The Hanover Co-op should be applauded for significantly reducing the emission of refrigerants from their coolers and freezers,” said Tom Land, manager of EPA’s GreenChill program. “They are demonstrating what is possible with good management of refrigeration systems and saving the Co-op money.”

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