The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill program announced the winners of its 2012 Environmental Achievement Awards. A handful of supermarketsGreenChill logo were honored for transitioning to low-impact refrigerants, reducing the amount of refrigerant used and eliminating harmful refrigerant leaks.

The GreenChill program has 54 partners with almost 8,000 stores, representing more than20% of the supermarket industry. EPA estimates that if supermarkets nationwide reduced their emissions to the GreenChill average emissions rate, the industry would eliminate the equivalent of 22 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, equal to removing more than 4.3 million passenger vehicles from the road.

And the awards go to:
Best Emissions Rate -- For the fourth time in GreenChill’s five-year history, Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh, won the program’s Best Emissions Rate Award for achieving the lowest corporate-wide emissions rate of all GreenChill supermarket companies.

Best of the Best Award – Albertsons, a Carpinteria, Calif., division of SUPERVALU, earned GreenChill’s Best Certified Store Award. The store is the first in the nation to use only low global warming-potential refrigerants.

Store Certification Excellence Award -- Given to Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, El Segundo, Calif., the partner that achieved the most GreenChill store certifications in the past year.

Store Certification Excellence Award (for non-supermarket partners) -- This award goes to the commercial systems manufacturer that achieves the most GreenChill certified advanced refrigeration systems in the past year— Hillphoenix, Conyers, Ga.

Distinguished Partner (supermarket) – This award, given to SUPERVALU, Eden Prairie, Minn., acknowledges the organization that demonstrated extraordinary leadership and initiative in the past year to help achieve GreenChill’s mission.

Distinguished Partner (non-supermarket) – This honor acknowledges David Hinde, R&D manager at Hillphoenix, for demonstrating extraordinary leadership and initiative in the past year to help achieve GreenChill’s mission. He earned this for his R&D work on commercial technologies that use low GWP refrigerants. (Please note: Hinde passed away early 2012).

Most-Improved Emissions Rate -- Acknowledges Buehler’s Fresh Foods, Wooster, Ohio, for achieving the most dramatic reduction in its corporate refrigerant emissions rate from the previous year.

Superior Goal Achievement – This award went to Buehler’s Fresh Foods for achieving challenging emissions reduction goals this past year. Even though GreenChill Partners achieve emission rates well below national averages, they all set ambitious, tough-to-achieve goals to improve their performance every year. Those who can rise up to this difficult task are rewarded with the Superior Goal Achievement Award. Other recipients are Hy-Vee, West Des Moines, Iowa; McQuade’s Marketplace, Westerly, R.I.; Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas; and Weis Markets, Sunbury, Pa.