Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Refrigerator plan should cut stores' harmful gas

Portland Press Herald

Hannaford Bros. and Whole Foods are working with the EPA to improve efficiency.

January 29, 2008

Hannaford Bros. Co. plans to upgrade refrigerators in its
supermarkets as part of a new federal program aimed at
protecting the earth's protective ozone layer and slowing global

Hannaford, based in Scarborough, and Whole Foods Market,
which has a store in Portland, are two of 10 companies
nationwide to sign on to the GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration

The companies are working with the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency to reduce the threat that chemical refrigerants
can pose to the ozone layer and the earth's climate, the EPA's
Boston office announced Monday. They also are working on ways
to make refrigeration systems more energy-efficient, to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and save money.

"(Refrigeration) is a pretty big chunk of what goes on in any
supermarket," said Harrison Horning, director of facilities and
energy for Hannaford.

The new initiative is a continuation of 15 years of efforts to
improve the efficiency of Hannaford's refrigeration equipment,
he said.

Hannaford will start installing equipment this year that
reduces the amounts of refrigerants that are needed and
reduces energy demand, Horning said. The latest technology, for
example, uses waste heat from refrigerators to heat buildings.

Customers won't notice any of the changes. "It's all behind
the scenes," Horning said.

The company expects the investment to pay off quickly
because of the energy that will be saved, he said.

The EPA program is focusing on reducing energy use and on
ways to prevent leaks and discharges of chemical refrigerants
such as HCFC-22. That commonly used refrigerant is being
phased out because it can deplete ozone. It also is a greenhouse
gas that can contribute to climate change.

The next generation of refrigerants is expected to be safer
for the ozone layer but still will pose a threat to the climate.p>

"You want to feel like you've reached the finished line, but
now we realize the (next class of refrigerants) are still
greenhouse gases, so we have more to do," Horning said.

The EPA estimates that refrigeration improvements can
eliminate as much greenhouse gas as taking 800,000
automobiles off the road every year. It also estimates that
improvements could save the industry more than $12 million a

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324
or at:


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