The GreenChill Program at 15 Years

Date: 06 October 2022

In 2007, EPA launched the GreenChill Partnership, a program for food retailers committed to leading the transition out of ozone‑depleting refrigerants, reducing refrigerant emissions, and adopting improved refrigeration management practices and technologies. The goals of the GreenChill Partnership are to provide food retailers (supermarkets, grocery stores, co-ops, supercenters, and wholesale clubs) and other industry stakeholders with information and assistance to:

  • Transition to environmentally friendlier refrigerants;

  • Lower refrigerant charge sizes;

  • Eliminate refrigerant leaks;

  • Implement best environmental practices; and

  • Adopt green refrigeration technologies.


EPA also believed from the Partnership’s inception, that the Agency could accomplish these goals while also saving food retailers money. Indeed, 15 years later, GreenChill Partners have shown they can save money and reduce the environmental impact of refrigeration in supermarkets and food retail stores across the United States.

Since 2007, the Program’s Corporate Partners and individually GreenChill Certified Stores have avoided 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e), 583 metric tons of ozone depletion potential (ODP), and saved $582 million in refrigerant replacement costs. GreenChill Partners cover one-third of food retail locations in the United States. Many more food retail companies and individual stores are eligible to participate in GreenChill and contribute to the Program’s success. In just one year, if every supermarket reduced its emissions rate to the GreenChill Partnership average, the supermarket industry could save more than $541 million in refrigerant replacement costs, reduce emissions by 30 MMTCO2e, and avoid 69 MT ODP. As GreenChill celebrates this anniversary, the Program continues to work collaboratively with the food retail industry to reduce refrigerant emissions that harm the ozone layer and contribute to climate change. GreenChill continues to evolve as the supermarket industry makes advances in corporate sustainability and climate protection.

“The GreenChill program has been an extremely valuable public/private partnership for Hy-Vee, and the entire grocery industry. This program has been instrumental in helping retailers like Hy-Vee benchmark their progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving our sustainability goals.” - Jon Scanlan, Assistant Vice President, Refrigeration & Energy Management, Hy-Vee.

GreenChill’s Cool Programs

Three core programs work in different ways to achieve GreenChill’s mission.

Corporate Emissions Reduction Program (the Partnership). Partners with food retailers and refrigeration system manufacturers to reduce refrigerant emissions, and chemical producers to promote the adoption of environmentally friendlier refrigerants.

Store Certification Program. Recognizes individual stores for using environmentally friendlier commercial refrigeration systems.

Advanced Refrigeration Program. Promotes advanced refrigeration technologies, strategies, and practices through technical webinars, industry-specific web content, information, and guidelines.

GreenChill’s Cool Programs

Corporate Emissions Reduction Program Success

GreenChill’s Corporate Emissions Reduction Program success is the result of Partner actions. Partners include food retailers (i.e., supermarkets, grocery stores, co-ops, supercenters, and wholesale clubs), refrigeration system manufacturers, and chemical producers. They set annual emissions reduction goals, measure refrigerant stocks and emissions, and report their data to EPA. GreenChill’s trends show major shifts in the adoption of alternative refrigerants since 2007 that benefit the ozone layer and reduce contributions to climate change.


GreenChill Partnership Continues to Grow

GreenChill launched with just 10 Partners and today has 43 corporate partners. GreenChill’s Food Retail Partners operate more than 13,500 stores in all 50 states, accounting for roughly one-third of all U.S. food retailers.

Giant Eagle achieved the Best Partner Emissions Rate in 2011 

Recognizing GreenChill Partner Achievements

EPA spotlights Partner achievements by honoring top performing companies at an annual recognition event. GreenChill recognizes Partners for outstanding achievements to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer and climate change. Since 2007, GreenChill has recognized 213 individual achievements. For example, Weis Markets achieved the Most Improved Emissions Rate recognition most recently in 2021. Cook County Whole Foods Co-op received the Best Emissions Rate recognition in 2020. Explore current and past winners. GreenChill’s 10 original Partners in 2007

Store Certification Program Achievements

GreenChill’s Store Certification Program sets the standard for demonstrating the responsible refrigerant management of individual food retail stores. Through this program, GreenChill awards either Platinum, Gold, or Silver-Level Certification to food retail stores that significantly reduce the environmental impact of their refrigeration systems. The Program provides an opportunity to recognize the individual stores that go above and beyond to meet ambitious environmental standards, including the use of advanced refrigeration systems, non-ozone-depleting refrigerants, lower-GWP refrigerants, and maintaining leak tight systems.

GreenChill Store Certification Criteria

Certification Level

Charge to Load Ratio*

HFC Emissions Rate







Platinum (HFC Pathway)**



*(lbs. HFC/1,000 BTU/hr)

**Stores may achieve Platinum-Level Certification via the HFC pathway if refrigerants have GWPs lower than 150. Newly constructed stores using HFCs or hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) must be leak tested according to GreenChill Guidelines.

 GreenChill Certified Stores (2022)

 GreenChill Certified Stores


Number of GreenChill Certified Stores Over Time

Number of GreenChill Certified Stores Over Time 

Food Retailers are Achieving Significant Environmental Benefits

Since 2008, GreenChill Certified Stores have avoided emissions equivalent to over 1.4 MMTCO2 through preventative maintenance and leak reduction practices – equivalent to the total emissions avoided from 250,000 homes’ electricity use for one year. By meeting GreenChill standards, Certified Stores have avoided more than $7,600,000 in refrigerant replacement costs as compared to typical food retail stores.

Food Retail Stores are Maintaining Certified Systems with Success

GreenChill engages with Store Certification Program participants to ensure that stores re-certify when eligible to continue earning recognition and demonstrating their environmental achievements. The number of re-certifying stores continues to rise – in 2021, 83% of GreenChill Certified Stores were re-certifications. In fact, over 75% of all stores have certified for two or more years and nearly 40% of all stores have certified for four or more years.



Advanced Refrigeration Program

GreenChill’s Advanced Refrigeration Program provides the food retail industry with the latest information on emerging refrigeration system technologies and trends. Advanced emerging refrigeration system technologies are important because they push the industry forward. They generally operate more efficiently and with lower refrigerant charge sizes, are less prone to leaking, and use lower-GWP refrigerants. GreenChill Program offerings include informational webinars, tools, calculators, and guidelines that help industry stakeholders assess the costs and benefits of adopting new refrigeration technologies.


Partners are Adopting Advanced Technologies

When GreenChill began in 2007, the most common systems newly installed in food retail stores were conventional centralized direct expansion systems. In subsequent years, new system sales have shifted to advanced technologies that typically leak less and/or use refrigerants with better environmental profiles. These advanced technologies include distributed, micro-distributed, secondary loop, cascade, and transcritical carbon dioxide systems.


GreenChill at the Forefront of Sharing Technology Innovations

GreenChill webinars provide information to stakeholders about reducing refrigerant emissions from the food retail sector, including sharing information on leak detection practices, improved maintenance options, the newest system technologies, and real-word experiences piloting alternative refrigerants. Since 2007, GreenChill has hosted over 100 webinars that have brought stakeholders together to exchange industry best practices.


Percentages of Refrigration System Types Installed Over Time

Percentages of Refrigration System Types Installed Over Time  


Benefits of GreenChill Partnership

Protect the Environment, Save Money

Refrigerant leaks not only contribute to climate change, but can be a significant cost to a company’s bottom line. Refrigerant leaked from commercial refrigeration systems eventually needs to be replaced and leaky systems also require maintenance and repairs that come at a high cost. Eliminating and reducing refrigerant emissions saves time and money for businesses and protects the environment. 

Receive Analytical Support

GreenChill provides customized data reports that outline individual Partner trends in relation to overall Program statistics. Partners can compare how their metrics, such as emissions rates or ODP impact per store, compare to the Partnership as a whole. Many Partners identify this as the most valuable aspect of participating in GreenChill.

Stater Bros. Markets achieved Store Re-Certification Excellence in 2015 

Access Best Practices

GreenChill is a forum to share best practices that reduce refrigerant replacement costs, discuss new ideas that streamline refrigeration system maintenance, and talk about the adoption of new refrigerants. GreenChill offers resources on the Program website, through Partner communications, and during webinars.

Earn Recognition

Each year, GreenChill holds a ceremony to recognize Partners and individual food retail stores for their achievements. 

Prepare for the Future

GreenChill activities help Partners develop long-term refrigeration management plans and anticipate industry changes, including shifting technologies and refrigerants. GreenChill Partners lead the industry in environmentally friendly refrigeration practices.

Read the Full GreenChill's 15 Year Anniversary Report.

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