GreenChill at the Co-op: Big Achievement For Our Favorite Store

Photo credit: Hayden Smith

Photo credit: Hayden Smith

If you ask any Upperclassman if they have been to the Hanover Co-op during school, the answer will most likely be a “yes.” And why wouldn’t it be? Unbelievably convenient, the Hanover Co-op has attracted students from Hanover High School for decades. Unbeknownst to us, while we were buying our delicious samosas and mac and cheese from the hot foods section, or treating ourselves to a well deserved ice cream after acing that French test, the Co-op has been achieving some pretty incredible things, too. In fact, our very own local Co-op just received top national recognition from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their work in reducing their refrigerant emissions, in conjunction with the EPA’s GreenChill program.


The GreenChill program is a program that is mostly focused on reducing the use and leaks of hydrofluorocarbons, a type of potent greenhouse gas commonly found in supermarket refrigeration systems. A typical supermarket leaks approximately 1,000 pounds of refrigerant gas into the atmosphere annually, which contributes to global warming. Thankfully, supermarkets that are part of the GreenChill program have an average of 13.9% emissions, which is almost 50% below the industry average, so change is being made. And with 10,800 GreenChill Partnership stores in the USA, including Shaw’s, BJ’s, Whole Foods, and other big name supermarkets, businesses are obviously making an effort to make refrigeration more sustainable on a very large scale.


With so many stores participating in the program and making great strides towards cleaner refrigeration, it can be nearly impossible to stand out, especially as a local business. But all of the Co-op’s hard work paid off when they were recognized for the greatest improved emissions since joining the program (an 82.9% drop) and the greatest improved emissions since last year (a 77.4% drop) by the EPA.


After making many changes, including switching to new, safer refrigerant, cases with sealed doors, and adding a system to notify employees when there is a malfunction in the system, the Hanover emissions rate is down to 9%, a good amount below the GreenChill average. Since joining the program, the Co-op has worked to use their program’s success to help other stores follow in their footprint, including hosting webinars to share their knowledge with other grocery chains and coops. And what did the Co-op get out of it besides the knowledge that they were adding to a cleaner future? Significantly reduced costs for maintaining their refrigeration system and national recognition.


So the next time you stop by the Co-op, perhaps take a moment to think about all of the hard work that went into making sure that our favorite store is also the atmosphere’s favorite. And, please, close the refrigerator case when you’re done getting those popsicles for your Common Ground and don’t let all of the Co-op’s good intentions go to waste!

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