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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Hanover Co-op Food Stores Moves on Carbon Neutrality

Hanover Co-op

George Harvey

With summer progressing, the Hanover Co-op Food Stores of New Hampshire and Vermont are about half way through an extensive set of efficiency projects at its Lebanon store. Most of the work is scheduled for completion this year. The projects are set up to allow for normal store operations and with little interference to customers’ shopping. In fact, they are set up in such a way that many shoppers might not notice them at all.

Hanover Co-op Food Stores is striving toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. These projects may be small, individually, but they are important parts of that impressive, overall goal.

Many aspects of the project happen at night to minimize shopping interruptions during business hours. (ReArch Company)

This year’s work began last spring when the refrigerants the Co-op uses were changed. The new refrigerants have far lower global warming potential (GWP) than the traditional coolants. While refrigerants are to remain trapped within the system in theory, in practice sometimes there are leaks. The Hanover Co-op’s proactive approach to reduce such impact is in keeping with its reputation for environmental stewardship.

GWP is measured by comparisons with carbon dioxide, which is rated at 1. The traditional refrigerant CFC-12 has a GWP of 10,900, so its ability to capture heat warming the planet is that many times the ability of carbon dioxide. Newer, less environmentally destructive refrigerants are rated with GWP values 3 to 5, so the improvement brought about in the change is important (

Over the course of the summer, the store’s HVAC system will be replaced. Many readers of Green Energy Times are familiar with this. It is an issue of vital importance to efficiency, with improved technology and increased performance opportunities that come with better weatherization.

To reduce the inconvenience for customers, the HVAC improvements will be made largely at night, when the store is not operating. The work is largely overhead, so while it is not actually being done, it will have little effect on people who shop or work there.

Limited disruption to the store will happen in the late summer to fall, when forty-seven refrigerated cases are replaced. This is scheduled to be done in thirteen steps, one sequence per week. That means any disruption will be brief in any one area. Temporary customer inconvenience will be confined to small sections of the facility.

Turner Piping and Refrigeration work at night to pump out the old, less environmentally-friendly R404A gas from the refrigeration lines into the tanks. The tanks are weighed to know when they are full. (ReArch Company)

The last of the four steps will also come in the fall. It is to replace the store’s fluorescent overhead lighting with LED lights. This step should be complete before the middle of November, so the hope is that shoppers for the holidays will not be inconvenienced at all.

The work on refrigeration is being done by Turner Piping and Refrigeration of Rutland, Vermont. Vermont Mechanical of Williston, VT is doing the HVAC work. LED lighting upgrades will be performed by MEI Electric of Westfield and Williston, VT. Overall construction is managed by ReArch Company, which is in Burlington, VT.

The Lebanon Co-op Food Store is one of three large food stores, located in Lebanon and Hanover, NH, and White River Junction, VT. Hanover Co-op Food Stores also operates a smaller Co-op Market in Hanover, NH, in addition to two auto service centers and a production kitchen. The policy of Hanover Co-op Food Stores is to be engaged on environmental issues, including working on net-zero emissions.

Those who shop at the Lebanon Co-op Food Store should remember that they can also do so online. The Hanover and Lebanon stores and the Co-op Market have a common web site where orders can be placed for curbside pickup. There is an amazing number of products that can be purchased this way, 11,600 in Hanover and Lebanon, and 1,400 at the Co-op Market. The order needs to be placed at least 90-minutes before pickup on the same day. The hours of operation for curbside pick-up at Hanover and Lebanon are from 9 am to 6 pm, and for the Co-op Market they are from 11 am to 6 pm. The website for getting started is Groceries-2-Go (

For more information, please visit the Hanover Co-op Food Stores website

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