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Frozen Aisle: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

Reducing Our Impact Through Refrigeration Efficiency

Our continued investments in improving refrigeration and air conditioning systems in our stores have reduced energy usage, saving up to 165,000 kilowatt-hours annually per store by using high-efficiency fan motors in back room freezers and installing doors on traditionally open refrigerated cases. In addition to energy reduction efforts in our refrigerated equipment, we also have a strong focus on reducing refrigerant emissions.

We consistently remain well below the average refrigerant leak rate for grocery retailers and we continue to reduce our annual average leak rate through proper refrigeration management and reduction efforts. Through our remodel process, we are converting refrigerants with a high global warming potential (GWP) to those with ultra-low GWP, such as carbon dioxide and ultra-low HFO blends. Over the last several years, we have designed our new stores with a combination of ultra-low GWP refrigerants, with CO2 becoming a standard for us as we look towards a more sustainable future. All of our cold storage warehouses and food processing plants use ultra-low ammonia refrigeration systems, which have high energy efficiency, zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and zero GWP. As the technology matures, we will continue to incorporate new methods to achieve our goals of increasing energy efficiency and further reducing emissions of ozone-depleting refrigerants.

We are committed to addressing the impact of our refrigeration emissions through continued guidance and collaboration with the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Additionally, we place a strong focus on regular and ongoing training with our technicians on new refrigeration technologies. We recently enhanced our training program by converting one of our buildings to a training facility with refrigeration equipment from our new store models so our technicians get the hands-on training they need to properly maintain our systems.

Publix is a founding partner of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GreenChill program which works to help food retailers lower refrigerant charge sizes, eliminate leaks, transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants, and adopt green refrigeration technologies and best environmental practices. The partnership has three main programs that help food retailers reduce their refrigerant emissions: the Food Retailer Corporate Emissions Reduction Program, the Store Certification Program for Advanced Refrigeration, and the Advanced Refrigeration Promotion Program. As of March 2022, we have 77 stores that have achieved Silver GreenChill certifications and 28 stores that have received Gold GreenChill certifications. Store 1668 in Longwood, Florida is our first Platinum Certified store.

Did you know? We’ve made our own hot water since the late ’70s by capturing waste heat generated from our refrigeration systems.