Knowledge for better food systems

Environmental Investigation Agency’s (EIA) Chilling Facts: Closing the Door on Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

This report, Closing the door on HFCs, documents the continued shift away from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the supermarket refrigeration sector. Now in its sixth year, EIA’s Chilling Facts reports have become an important resource used to disseminate information about progress in the shift away from HFC-based technology.

This year’s report has gone global, surveying progress made by European and, for the very first time, three new South African retailers, as they transition their new and existing systems away from HFCs. Among this year’s retailers, 1889 stores are now recorded to be using natural refrigerants.

The need to put doors on refrigeration cabinets has been a key focus of the report, with retailers reporting energy savings of around 33% from this measure alone. Putting doors on fridges has huge climate-saving and money-saving potential, with some estimates suggesting that 1% of the UK’s energy bill could be saved if the top 5 retailers did just that. Nevertheless, many retailers are failing to act on this. Energy efficiency of HFC-free systems remains a key issue, and retailers continue to report significant energy gains as a result of their transition to natural refrigerants. Recent technological advances are showing promise in warmer climates, such as Southern Europe, with retailers and manufacturers anticipating significant energy savings.

Citation

Chilling Facts VI: Closing the Door on HFCs. Publication. Environmental Investigation Agency, Oct. 2014. Web.

Read the full Chilling facts publication here.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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