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NASRC Launches Innovative Program To Help Grocers Go Green

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Last updated on September 19th, 2022 at 10:36 am

The North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), a 501(c)(3) environmental nonprofit working to advance climate-friendly natural refrigerants in supermarkets, is launching a new pilot program to offset the upfront costs of natural refrigerant technologies.

NASRC’s new Aggregated Incentives Program (AIP) pilot is a free platform to coordinate various funding sources through a streamlined application process for food retailers.

“High upfront cost is the primary hurdle preventing the adoption of environmentally friendly natural refrigerants,” said Danielle Wright, NASRC executive director. “Funding support is key to bridging the gap and stimulating the economies of scale necessary to bring costs down.”

Contributing factors

Traditional refrigerants contain Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), extremely potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) that trap thousands of times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2), and have been named the fastest-growing source of GHG emissions globally.

Commercial refrigeration systems, such as those in supermarkets and grocery stores, are the leading contributor to HFC emissions, releasing over 130 million pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions annually in the U.S. alone.

Natural refrigerants – including ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons – are the most climate-friendly solution, but their adoption in the U.S. has been stalled due in large part to cost barriers.


CARB proposes new regs

New refrigerant regulations proposed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are driving a growing number of food retailers to consider natural refrigerants, making California an ideal location for the pilot of NASRC’s Aggregated Incentives Program. CARB has established an F-gas Reduction Incentive Program for climate-friendly refrigerants, but the allocated budget will only support a few natural refrigerant projects.

AIP is designed to bridge the funding gap with outside funding sources to maximize the number of natural refrigerant projects.

“Our goal is to secure enough funding to make these projects possible while simplifying the experience for the retailers,” said Wright. “We also expect the pilot to generate a tremendous amount of data that will contribute to industry knowledge about naturals, further promoting their growth.”

The pilot program will be offered at no-cost to applicants thanks to the sponsorship of NASRC Titanium members, including Bitzer US, Climate Pros, CoolSys and Hillphoenix. NASRC is accepting preliminary AIP applications through the end of June 2020. 

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