MINNEAPOLIS — Target Corp., which is adding refrigeration to its discount stores at a rapid rate, announced last week that it is joining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership, becoming the program's largest retail member.
Established in November 2007, GreenChill is a voluntary program through which food retailers set goals for reducing refrigerant leaks and monitor progress toward those goals. It is credited with driving down refrigerant leak rates across a wide swath of the supermarket industry. The program also supports refrigerant charge reduction and the use of alternative refrigeration systems.
“The first year is about setting a baseline and [leak-reduction] goals about where we want to go in 2012,” Target spokeswoman Jenna Reck told SN. “We will also use the EPA's state-of-the-art research to make refrigeration more energy efficient.”
With Target, the program includes about 7,000 supermarkets operating in all 50 states. Other major chains in the program include Food Lion, Publix, Whole Foods, Hy-Vee and most of Supervalu's banners.
Joined by representatives from the EPA and Congressman Ron Kind, D-Wis., Target officials announced the GreenChill membership during a press conference at a “P-fresh” store in Hudson, Wis., one of about 500 Target discount outlets remodeled to include refrigerated and an expanded frozen-food selection. Introduced in 2008, the P-fresh concept will be in about 850 Target stores by the end of 2011, and is expected to be in all of its 1,500 discount stores by 2013. Target also runs 251 SuperTarget combination supermarket/discount stores that feature a larger offering of refrigerated products.
“GreenChill is very proud to welcome Target as its latest and largest food retail partner,” said Kelly Whitman, GreenChill program manager, EPA. “As Target expands its fresh-food assortment throughout the nation, excellent refrigeration management will become more and more important for the company's environmental responsibility goals. Target's partnership with GreenChill is a commitment to the public that the company is protecting the environment during its expansion.”
Reck noted that at the Hudson store and a handful of others Target is testing use of R134A, a low-ozone-depleting gas, as a refrigerant.
Last December, Target committed itself to achieving a series of environmental milestones by 2016, including earning the EPA's Energy Star label for at least 75% of U.S. buildings.