Former GreenChill manager Keilly Witman will lead Texas chain's efforts to meet its refrigerant management goals in the program.
San Antonio, Texas-based grocer H.E. Butt Grocery Company (H-E-B), which operates 400 stores in Texas and Mexico, on July 19 announced that it has joined the Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership.
“H-E-B is proud to join this cutting-edge partnership, which further signifies our commitment to be strong environmental stewards,” Winell Herron, H-E-B's group vice president of public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs said in a statement.
“This pledge demonstrates our ongoing effort to provide our customers with more than just a great place to shop, we want them to know we’re actively protecting the state we proudly call home,” added Herron.
To drive this effort forward, H-E-B has appointed Keilly Witman as director of refrigerant management and sustainability. Witman helped launch the GreenChill Partnership in 2007, and she managed it for six years as part of the EPA’s Stratospheric Protection Division.
At H-E-B, Witman’s task will be to lead the company’s refrigerant strategies and ensure that it exceeds the partnership’s standards.
“This pledge demonstrates our ongoing effort to provide our customers with more than just a great place to shop, we want them to know we’re actively protecting the state we proudly call home.” - Winell Herron, H-E-B
Added current GreenChill Manager Tom Land, “H-E-B is a fantastic company to have join EPA’s GreenChill Partnership because of their leadership in adopting advanced refrigeration technology,” adding that, “The GreenChill Partnership looks forward to working with H-E-B to acknowledge the company’s environmentally responsible management of their refrigeration systems.”
The GreenChill program is a partnership between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and food retailers, aiming to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease the industry’s impact on the ozone layer and climate change.
The program works with retailers to help them transition to environmentally friendly refrigerants and lower charge sizes, eliminate leaks, and adopt best environmental practices.
At the 2019 IIAR Natural Refrigeration Conference & Expo, Land told the audience that the number of installed CO2 systems in supermarkets participating in the GreenChill partnership has grown steadily since 2013. The amount of CO2 installed in all types of systems (transcritical, cascade and secondary) grew to 101,837 lbs (46,192 kg) in 2017, from 16,397 lbs (7,437 kg) in 2013.
H-E-B’s commitment to natural refrigerants isn’t new. In 2013, the company opened the first store in the U.S. to employ propane (R290)-refrigerated display cases throughout the store. It recently installed its first cascade CO2 system, according to Charles Wernette, director of engineering for H-E-B.