18907921_lwebUSA: US supermarkets have come under attack from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) for failing to take meaningful steps to reduce their dependence on HFC refrigerants.

The “green” group which has been tracking UK and European supermarket efforts to adopt natural alternatives to HFCs have turned their focus on America where, according to the EIA, each US supermarket emits on average 1,556 metric tons of CO2 equivalent of HFCs annually from leaks in their systems.

The report, The Dirty Dozen: How your local supermarket is killing the climate accuses Ahold USA, Costco, Delhaize, HEB, Kroger, Meijer, Publix, Safeway, Supervalu, Target, Walmart and Whole Foods of not taking substantial action to begin phasing out HFCs or reduce the amount of HFC emissions leaking from refrigeration systems.

Of the 12 supermarkets covered by the report Ahold USA has installed a CO2/propylene glycol system in Arlington, VA, and a propylene glycol/HFC system in a Stop & Shop store in Hartford, CT.

Delhaize opened its first store with a CO2 transcritical system at a Hannaford store in Maine. It also has three stores operating with CO2 cascade systems.

HEB opened a store in Texas at the end of July using a propane refrigeration system.

Publix is reported to have 13 stores with HFC/glycol secondary refrigeration systems. They are also said to have an HFC?CO2 low temperature system in a store in Georgia.

Supervalu has an Albertsons store in California operating with an ammonia/CO2 cascade system. A Star Market in Massachusetts uses a secondary loop system with a water/propylene glycol mix.

Target is piloting CO2/glycol/HFC hybrid systems in four stores.

Walmart has the largest commitment with more than 125 stores and two Sam Clubs using glcol or CO2 in tandem with HFCs. A Walmart in Colorado has installed a hydrocarbon/glycol/HFC system and is trialling propane-based freezer cases.

Whole Foods is planning to open a store using a CO2 transcritical system in New York this year. It already operates one store with an HFC with secondary CO2 system and two with HFC/CO2 cascade systems.

Despite president Barack Obama’s recent drive to bring an HFC phase-down timetable within the framework of the Montreal Protocol, of the 12 supermarkets covered by the report none were said to have any published corporate policy committing them to a phase-out of HFCs. Only Delhaize claimed to be discussing a plan to have some additional HFC-free stores by 2015 with the likelihood that CO2 transcritical systems could become standard in their northeastern US Hannaford stores.

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