A Christmas Gift to the Climate: American Supermarkets Now Have Access to Climate Friendly Refrigeration System

Dec 14, 2012, 10:11 ET from Environmental Investigation Agency

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  Environmentalists today welcomed the announcement that a climate friendly refrigeration system for supermarkets is now legally available in the United States.

Hillphoenix, a leading producer of advanced refrigeration systems for supermarkets announced this week that its Advansor CO2 Booster Refrigeration System received an Underwriters Laboratories listing, the first such system that uses carbon dioxide (CO2) as a refrigerant instead of the climate damaging chemicals, HFCs (hydroflourocarbons), which are commonly used in America's 36,000 supermarkets.  Most current supermarket refrigeration systems use HFCs known as "super greenhouse gases," hundreds or thousands of times as powerful that carbon dioxide.  R-404A, one of the most commonly used HFCs in supermarket refrigeration systems, has a global warming potential 3,900 times higher.

HFC refrigeration systems generally contain 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of refrigerant chemicals with an estimated 25% of the HFC's leaking out each year into the earth's atmosphere. This means that a single supermarket can cause greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual emissions of 350 passenger vehicles (EPA 2012).

Systems using natural refrigerants, like the Advansor and other transcritical systems which will soon be on the market, have almost zero greenhouse gas emissions, and promise radical improvements for the climate.

Allan Thornton, President of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an international environmental non-profit group that is seeking a global phase out of HFCs, welcomed the news. "The introduction of this energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and proven system to the American market is a Christmas gift to the climate. American supermarkets have been slow to replace HFC refrigeration technologies and have fallen far behind their counterparts in Europe, Japan and Canada in introducing climate friendly refrigeration units. The new Hillphoenix system is a game changing technology that must appeal to every supermarket and retail chain in America that values climate protection and energy efficiency."

"Europe has over 1600 CO2 systems already in place, and Canada has nearly 40," Mr. Thornton added.

In November 2010, the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), a global network of retailers and manufacturers, responded to the growing concern over HFCs by committing to "begin phasing-out HFC refrigerants as of 2015 and replace them with non-HFC refrigerants (natural refrigerant alternatives) where these are legally allowed and available for new purchases."

CGF members such as AEON in Japan have committed that all new store builds by 2015 will be HFC free, and UK companies Waitrose and Sainsbury's have committed to a total HFC phase-out by 2020 and 2030 respectively. 

Danielle Gagne, a senior climate policy analyst at the EIA, noted that Overwaitea Food Group in Vancouver, Canada installed the Hillphoenix Advansor in its Urban Fare Express store earlier this year. "Transcritical systems have been proven not just environmentally sound, but economically viable from Europe to Japan to Australia and Canada.  This announcement proves the American market is ready to join the movement. The only question left is which American supermarket will be the first to take this important step and lead the industry in phasing out HFCs? We encourage consumers to ask their supermarkets if they have made the change and are helping to save the climate."

For further information, contact:   
Danielle Gagne, HFC Policy Analyst
: Tel: 1 202 483 6621, dgagne@eia-global.org  
Mark W. Roberts, International Policy Advisor: Tel: 1 978 298 5705, markroberts@eia-global.org


  1. Hillphoenix Inc., a Dover Company, is based in Conyers, Ga. The company designs and manufactures commercial refrigerated display cases and specialty products, refrigeration systems, integrated power distribution systems and walk-in coolers and freezers.  Visit www.hillphoenix.com or call 800-283-1109 for more information.
  2. Earlier this year, the EIA released a report, "HFC-Free Technologies are Available in the US Market for the Supermarket-Retail Refrigeration Sector," that identified climate friendly technologies for the refrigeration sector in U.S. supermarkets that will allow the rapid phase-out of HFCs.
  3. Original announcement: http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2012/12/10/510477/10014992/en/Advansor-by-Hillphoenix-CO2-Booster-Refrigeration-Systems-Receive-UL-Listing.html

Environmental Investigation Agency
Washington, DC
PO Box 53343
Washington, DC 20009

Tel: +1 202 483-6621

SOURCE Environmental Investigation Agency