SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- About 54% of refrigeration systems are using chlorofluorocarbon coolants, according to a retailer survey released last month, just 90 days before production of the ozone-depleting gas is banned.
The retailers responding to a Food Marketing Institute survey said 54.2% of their refrigeration systems run on CFCs.
The same group of participants said hydrochlorofluorocarbon gases were used in 33.5% of their systems while hydrofluorocarbons were used in 10.9% of store refrigeration systems. Other refrigerants represented 1.4% of systems.
The poll, which surveyed 129 retailers, was released at the FMI Energy and Technical Services Conference here last month.
The production of CFCs will cease Dec. 31, 1995, as mandated by the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement signed by more than 100 nations in 1987.
Though more than half the retailers polled believed there would be adequate supplies of CFCs after production is banned, retailers said they are taking steps to prepare for phaseouts.
About 58% of respondents said they are recycling coolants, and roughly 77% of those surveyed have some kind of refrigeration management program in their organization.
While CFCs are still the dominant coolant in supermarkets, however, many new or planned stores are using alternative coolants considered less damaging to the Earth's atmosphere. Retailers said an average of 98.3% of medium-temperature cases and 96.5% of high-temperature cases in their new stores run on either HFCs or HCFCs.
A majority of survey respondents believe further coolant phaseouts and increased regulations will occur in the future. Sixty-three percent said they thought regulatory bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency will play a larger role in usage of coolant gases.