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Longo’s CO2 refrigeration store in York Mills section of Toronto, Canada
Longo’s store in York Mills section of Toronto, Canada; photo by Sikander Iqbal via Wikimedia Commons

With 44% of Stores Using CO2 Refrigeration, Canadian Retailer Longo’s Commits to CO2 in New Stores and Renovations

Longo Brothers Fruit Markets (Longo’s), based in Vaughan, Ontario (Canada), uses transcritical CO2 (R744) systems in 44% (16) of its 36 grocery stores, with plans to install CO2 refrigeration in all new stores and “significant” renovations.

That update was provided by Dave Mastroieni, Vice President, Central Procurement & Facility Management, Longo’s, who added that stores built prior to 2012 will convert to refrigerants with “lower global warming potential” by 2026.

Two stores switched to CO2 refrigeration systems in the past year, according to Longo’s 2022 Sustainability Report.

In 2018, Longo’s opened its first “near net-zero energy supermarket” in Stouffville, Ontario; its transcritical refrigeration system consists of two CO2 racks, manufactured by OEM Hillphoenix, that deliver a cooling capacity of 123 TR (432.9kW), with a low temperature of -25°F (-32°C) and a medium temperature of 19°F (-7.2°C).

Largely aided by refrigerant conversions, the company saw more than a 45% reduction in its scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2020, the report said. “largely driven by refrigerant conversions,” with two stores renovated to CO2 (R744) refrigeration systems and four stores retrofitted with lower GWP refrigerant in the past year.

Longo’s operates 36 stores in southern Ontario, Canada. “To date, 44% of our stores use a CO2 (natural refrigerant) system,” said Longo’s. The company plans to convert the remainder of its stores to natural refrigerants in the next three years, said Anthony Longo, President and CEO of Longo’s.

With 2020 as its baseline, the company has committed to a 55% reduction in scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 2030, said the report.

The company recognizes that refrigerant leaks are the most significant direct production (scope 1) source of GHG emissions for grocery stores, especially from HFC systems. Hence, since 2012, all new Longo’s stores have used CO2 refrigeration systems, the report noted.

“Apart from the emissions from refrigerant leaks, refrigeration systems also account for the majority of our store’s energy consumption [scope 2],” said Longo’s in the report, “We will continue our proactive approach to leak monitoring, mitigation and preventive maintenance of our refrigeration systems to minimize our emissions impact.” The company also plans to install glass doors on cold display cases to improve energy efficiency.

Other environmental measures Longo’s has taken include:

  • Eliminating single-use plastic bags;
  • Reducing food waste through donations;
  • Reducing water usage with system retrofits and installed monitoring devices;
  • Installing solar panels in eight stores, generating more than 1.6 million kWh in 2022; and
  • Providing electric vehicle charging stations.

Scope 3 emissions

Typical for grocery retailers, Longo’s admits its biggest source of CO2e emission comes from its indirect emissions up and down its value chain (scope 3) from the manufacturing and packaging of products sold in its stores. “We understand that tackling scope 3 emissions is critical to retailers,” said Longo’s, adding that the company intends to develop an achievable scope 3 target in the near future.

Longo’s 2018 “near net-zero” building generates most of its own electricity with 286kW solar panels installed on its roof, building facade and adjacent carport. A 100kW lithium-ion battery added in 2020 allows energy storage. The building is designed to enhance thermal efficiency with insulation and window glazing to reduce energy consumption.

Established in 1965, Longo’s family-operated business partnered with Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based Empire Company in 2021. “This partnership strengthens our competitive position and elevates our opportunity [for] sustainability initiatives,” said the report.

“To date, 44% of our stores use a CO2 (natural refrigerant) system.”

Longo’s 2022 Sustainability Report

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