EL SEGUNDO, CALIF. – Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market opened the first grocery store in Southern California to use naturally occurring carbon dioxide (CO2) refrigeration. The store in Rosemead is Fresh & Easy's first to be GreenChill-certified.

Its sub-critical cascade CO2 refrigeration system, which is one of only four in the U.S, reduces the impact of the store's refrigeration on the ozone layer by about 70%, as compared to industry standards, according to the company. By using a natural refrigerant, the system has an approximately 50% lower Global Warming Potential than traditional refrigerants.

The store also earned a silver certification award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (E.P.A.) GreenChill Partnership by meeting tough benchmarks for cutting emissions that harm the Earth's protective ozone layer and contribute to global warming. Fewer than 40 of the nation's 35,000 grocery stores have received GreenChill Store Certification awards.

Energy efficient characteristics of the company's refrigeration units include:

  • Energy efficient doors on freezer and dairy cases.
  • Triple-pane glass with an anti-fog coating on refrigerator doors, eliminating the need for door heaters for icing or fogging.
  • Night curtains on refrigerators to conserve energy while keeping product at the appropriate temperature when stores are closed.
  • LED lighting in all chilled cases.
"On average, our stores use 30% less energy than a typical supermarket, which helps our customers save money while also helping the environment," said Tim Mason, Fresh & Easy chief executive officer. "We've worked hard to make sure we are thoughtful in the impact we have on the environment and we're excited to continue to innovate in this area."

Kysor/Warren is the equipment manufacturer and designer of the system, and Source Refrigeration & HVAC Inc. handled store-specific engineering and installation. Verisae provided the energy management system controlling the system and its software will be used to help Fresh & Easy track energy use and operating costs.

Fresh & Easy operates 163 stores in California, Arizona and Nevada. In addition to fresh prepared meals, meats and produce, Fresh & Easy offers national-brand products and household items. The grocer's fresh&easy brand products contain no artificial colors or flavors, added trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and only use preservatives when absolutely necessary.

Fresh & Easy uses LED lighting in external signs and freezer cases and offers customer recycling in every store.

Fresh & Easy opened its first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified store last year and is a pilot member of the LEED Volume Certification Program. The company has also joined the California Climate Action Registry and The Climate Registry to disclose its greenhouse gas emissions. At its distribution center in Riverside, Calif., the company invested $13 million in a solar roof installation, which at 500,000 square feet is one of California's largest.