EPA Awards For Green Power, Refrigeration Impact, And Safer Chemicals

The U.S. EPA announced notable projects by organizations and facilities making environmentally-friendly strides in green power, green refrigeration, and products with safer chemicals.

This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made several announcements related to organizations and facilities that are making positive strides in green power, green refrigeration, and products with safer chemicals.

EPA Green Power Leadership Awards Announced

For its 20th annual Green Power Leadership Awards, the EPA is recognizing 12 Green Power Partners across the country, including Aldi; Equinix; Fifth Third Bank; Lundberg Family Farms; Microsoft; QTS Realty Trust; and Target Corporation.green power

EPA established the Green Power Partnership (GPP) in 2001 to protect human health and the environment by increasing organizations’ voluntary green power use to advance the American market for green power and development of those resources. The partnership provides a framework that includes credible usage benchmarks, market information, technical assistance, and public recognition to companies and other organizations that use green power. As of December 31, 2019, more than 1,400 EPA Green Power Partners are collectively using more than 61 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually.

“The 2020 Green Power Leadership Award winners are leaders in spurring innovation and promoting growth in the U.S. renewable energy market,” said Anne L. Austin, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “We commend their efforts, which help protect our environment and improve our air quality.”

These winners contribute to the growth of the green power market in the United States and demonstrate leadership by implementing best market practices. Green power is electricity generated from renewable energy resources that offer the greatest environmental benefit, such as solar, wind, low-impact hydropower, and some forms of biomass. This year’s 12 recipients are using approximately 11.7 billion kWh of green power, enough to power nearly 1.1 million average American homes for a year.

The winners for each of the four award categories are:

Sustained Excellence in Green Power. Microsoft Corporation (Redmond, WA) currently ranks #2 on EPA’s National Top 100 rankings. Microsoft has sustained its green power use at 100 percent corporate-wide while maintaining excellence by keeping pace with its increasing corporate power demand through a portfolio of innovative procurements totaling nearly six billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year.

Green Power Partner of the Year. Equinix, Inc. (Redwood, CA) has rapidly expanded its green power use to more than 2.3 billion kWh, which represents 100 percent of its electricity load in the U.S. Through a portfolio of virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs), utility green tariffs, community choice aggregation programs, and third-party certified renewable energy certificates (RECs), Equinix has transformed its electricity supply and decoupled its GHG footprint from its power consumption growth. Equinix also demonstrated leadership by actively and transparently communicating its green power priorities and use through corporate sustainability reports and social media, sharing its successes through leading industry groups, and actively working with utilities to improve open access to green power markets.

For the Direct Project Engagement award, six organizations are recognized…

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (San Luis Obispo, CA) entered a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Gold Tree Solar Farm that provides an estimated 25 percent of the school’s total annual electricity needs through on-site solar generation. The project reduced both upfront capital and long-term power costs, generating $17 million in savings over the 20-year life of the PPA. The procurement is the single largest PPA deal within the California State University system and brings solar into the college curriculum.

Fifth Third Bank (Cincinnati, OH) realized its goal of 100% renewable power through a financial contract of an 80-Megawatt (M.W.) solar project in North Carolina, which will produce approximately 202 million kWh of electricity per year. Fifth Third Bank shared its experiences and lessons learned from projects with employees, communities, and stakeholders at numerous events. In addition, Fifth Third Bank utilized a range of social media channels to raise awareness among crucial target audiences.

Lundberg Family Farms (Richvale, CA) installed a 1.15 MW solar array on top of three of its facilities in 2019, expanding its total on-site green power generation by 150%. Lundberg also worked with its solar project developer to donate a percentage of the project costs to a local civic league promoting community welfare.

Madison Area Technical College/ Main Truax Building (Madison, WI) completed construction in 2019 of the most extensive rooftop solar photovoltaic system in Wisconsin. Madison Area Technical College contributed more than 80% of the capital to develop the 1.85 MW solar project that was also designed as an educational tool. The project allows students and faculty, alike, to learn about various factors impacting project performance.

QTS Realty Trust (Overland Park, KS) continues to rapidly increase renewable electricity procurement and currently uses more than 412 million kWh of green power. QTS used an innovative procurement model featuring a partnership with an investment bank to purchase a portion of the power from a financed project.

Target Corporation (Minneapolis, MN.) used a multifaceted approach to develop both on-site and off-site projects over the past 17 years, including nearly 260 MW of on-site solar. More than 140 MW of financial PPAs supply Target with nearly 405 million kWh of green power annually. Target has also been active in engaging with public utility processes to expand and shape green tariffs in numerous states and has signed on to programs in Colorado, Georgia, and Washigton.

For the Excellence in Green Power Use, four organization are recognized…

ALDI, Inc. (Dublin, OH) met 100% of its electricity needs for its U.S. operations through a combination of self-supply projects and RECs. It has 113 on-site solar arrays on 99 stores and nine distribution centers throughout the country. ALDI has committed to including solar on all new stores wherever feasible.

General Motors LLC (Detroit, MI) more than doubled its annual green power use in 2019 to more than 1 billion kWh and utilizes a variety of supply options, including self-supply, utility green tariffs, physical PPAs, and financial contracts. GM also is being recognized for supporting increased green power access. GM helped negotiate a new Michigan-based green tariff program through which it will purchase 300 million kWh of green power while assisting other Michigan-based companies and non-profits to access green power through the same tariff.

Saint Louis University (St. Louis, MO) greatly increased its green power use through a student-led initiative. Saint Louis University established a student renewable energy fee for green power purchases. The students aligned the University’s electricity use with the University’s mission of “higher purpose, greater good,” achieving 100% green power. Students showed how green power advances public health and social justice by showcasing how traditional energy sources contribute to poor air quality and increased asthma rates, a significant regional health risk disproportionately impacting low-income, minority residents.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (Los Angeles, CA) accesses green power through a diverse portfolio, including a physical PPA, an innovative taxable real estate investment trust subsidiary structure, a REC purchase, a subscription to a shared renewables program in Florida, and 17 rooftop and carport solar projects at its shopping centers. Together, these purchases amounted to an estimated nearly 147 million kWh of green power in 2020.

The Green Power Leadership Awards are announced at the Renewable Energy Markets Conference, which EPA is a co-organizing sponsor. Visit the EPA website for a full list of 2020 Green Power Leadership Award winners.

Smart Refrigerant Management Through EPA’s GreenChill Program

The EPA’s GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership announced 22 awards to nine supermarket industry organizations and one advanced refrigeration system manufacturer for exceptional achievements to reduce the impacts of commercial refrigeration systems on the environment in 2019.

“We congratulate the awardees for their significant accomplishments in reducing the impact of commercial refrigeration systems,” said Anne L. Austin, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “These organizations are leading the way in both the use of advanced refrigeration technologies and the prevention of refrigeration leaks. Reducing refrigerant emissions protects the environment and helps stores save money at the same time, a benefit that can be passed on to their customers.

GreenChill Partners in the food retail industry demonstrate a commitment to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the environment. On average, GreenChill Partners maintain corporate-wide emissions rates that are approximately half the industry average.

GreenChill is a voluntary partnership program that works cooperatively with the food retail industry to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the environment. Leaky systems can come at a high price, requiring retailers to pay for replacement refrigerant, system maintenance, and repairs. In addition to reducing leaks, participants are transitioning to environmentally friendlier refrigerants and adopting advanced refrigeration technologies.

Participation in the Corporate Emissions Reduction Program (the Partnership) has grown significantly since the program launched in 2007. The number of stores included in the Partnership has nearly tripled from 4,500 to 12,600; in 2019, the Partnership represented more than 30% of the U.S. food retail industry. In 2019, there were nearly 600 GreenChill certified stores throughout the nation, a 56 percent increase from 2018. From the beginning of the program in 2008 through 2019, the GreenChill Store Certification Program has issued more than 1,800 certifications to over 830 individual stores.

EPA recognized GreenChill Partners in the following categories:

Best Corporate Emissions Rate

  • Price Chopper (Schenectady, NY)
  • Cook County Whole Foods Co-op (Grand Marais, MN)

Most Improved Emissions Rate

  • Price Chopper (Schenectady, NY)

Goal Achievement

  • Meijer (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Price Chopper (Schenectady, NY)
  • Weis Markets (Sunbury, PA)
  • Whole Foods Market (Austin, TX)

Superior Goal Achievement

  • Weis Markets (Sunbury, PA)

GreenChill’s Store Certification Program recognized certain stores for meeting strict performance criteria that demonstrate their refrigeration systems have minimal impacts on the ozone layer and climate system. GreenChill presented the following store certification recognitions:

Best of the Best

The Meijer store on Grand River Avenue in Detroit, MI was honored as the “Best of the Best” — the best certified store among all GreenChill certified stores this cycle — for achieving the highest estimated annual avoided emissions from its refrigeration systems.

Store Certification Excellence

ALDI (Batavia, Ill.) earned recognition for achieving more GreenChill store certifications than their peers over the past year. ALDI certified more stores than any supermarket chain has previously, all at the highest platinum-level. Hillphoenix (Conyers, Ga.) achieved this recognition for the ninth consecutive year as the commercial systems manufacturer with the most systems installed in GreenChill certified stores in the last year.

Store Re-Certification

Eleven stores were recognized for achieving GreenChill certification for five consecutive years. Store winners include: ALDI locations in Carthage, NY and Webster, NY; Food Lion in Southport, NC; and Hannaford in North Berwick, ME. Sprouts Farmers Market received this honor for seven stores: Hurst, TX; Oakland, CA; San Rafael, CA; Wheat Ridge, CO; Roswell, GA; Marietta; GA; and Germantown, TN.

Learn more about GreenChill and today’s recognition recipients: https://www.epa.gov/greenchill

EPA’s 2020 Safer Choice Partner of the Year Awards

Meanwhile, as part of Pollution Prevention (P2) week the EPA is recognizing 18 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners across 10 states and the District of Columbia for achievement in the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals which furthers outstanding or innovative source reduction. The Safer Choice program helps purchasers for facilities, such as schools and office buildings, find products that perform and are safer for human health and the environment.

“We are pleased today to be recognizing the leadership and accomplishments of a diverse array of organizations over the past year,” said EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dapolito Dunn. “This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Pollution Prevention Act and the awardees have all contributed to source reduction, also known as pollution prevention, through the design, manufacture, selection, and use of products with safer chemicals.”

The 2020 Partner of the Year award winners represent businesses, including woman-owned, and small- and medium-sized; federal and local government; and associations. The following organizations from eight EPA regions are being awarded this year:

  • Apple – Cupertino, CA
  • BASF Home Care and I & I Cleaning Solutions – Florham Park, NJ
  • Berkley Green – Uniontown, PA
  • The Clorox Company – Oakland, CA
  • Defunkify – Eugene, OR
  • DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences – Palo Alto, CA
  • ECOS – Cypress, CA
  • Grove Collaborative – San Francisco, CA
  • Hazardous Waste Management Program – King County, WA
  • Household & Commercial Products Association – Washington, DC
  • Jelmar, LLC – Skokie, IL
  • Lemi Shine – Austin, TX
  • Naval Supply Systems Command Weapons System Support – Mechanicsburg, PA
  • PROSOCO – Lawrence, KS
  • PurposeBuilt Brands – Gurnee, IL
  • Sea Mar Community Health Centers – Seattle, WA
  • Seventh Generation – Burlington, VT
  • Wegmans Food Markets – Rochester, NY

Visit the EPA website for more about the 2020 Safer Choice Partner of the Year award winners and summaries of the their accomplishments.

Want more news about facility management and the environment?

Click here to read more news related to sustainability, the environment, and facility management.