I'd like to elaborate on Raley's position in regard to environmental issues and refrigeration for those who were not present at the Refrigeration Roundtable meeting (see "Retailers, Contractors Debate Alternate Refrigeration Systems") or do not have a knowledge of our record of environmental stewardship.
Our refrigerant leak reduction measures predate the Montreal Protocol. We were one of the first chains to implement a comprehensive ODS (ozone depleting substance) replacement program, we participate in extensive recycling programs, and we are continually innovating to save refrigerant, energy and water.
Raley's employees are active participants in ASHRAE, FMI, EPA GreenChill and CARB shareholder meetings. We have designed and built systems, including photovoltaic and cogen power production, secondary refrigeration, and about every flavor of direct expansion refrigeration system in existence. Our current system has been continually refined over the past 15 years and has one of the best track records for energy efficiency, reliability, leak-tightness and longevity in the world.
For these reasons and many more I can say that we are one of the greenest grocery chains in the nation. Climate change is an observed phenomenon that I don't dispute, but Raley's did not begin their journey of resource conservation because of environmental or social pressures.
My stance on alternative refrigeration systems is that they have to make sense when you look at the entire picture, not just leak rates, and not just total charge. We have been watchfully anticipating the day when a technology would finally topple our system (and believe me, we won't hesitate to jump in), but the published data on most current alternative technologies back up what we've experienced on our own secondary refrigerant store: You have to sacrifice significantly in energy, reliability and longevity to achieve lower leak rate or lower total charge. This hasn't stopped us from pursuing other means to reduce our total charge and leak rates, though. We have reduced our average system charge by nearly 20% since 2005, and have reduced our already low refrigerant emissions rate by 10% since 2009.
West Sacramento, Calif.