- Publix’s newly opened GreenWise Market in Tampa, Florida, marks the first time the grocer has attached the refrigeration system in one of its supermarkets to a district cooling system (DCS), a centralized facility that provides chilled water and helps improve energy efficiency and stability for cooling systems, according to a press release on Thursday.
- The refrigeration equipment in the new store, which opened Thursday, is connected to the DCS in Tampa’s Water Street neighborhood along with the store's air-conditioning system. The new location is the second Publix store to use a DCS for air conditioning.
- Publix's new store aligns with its recent moves to create more sustainable business operations, from using more solar panels at certain stores to shifting the type of refrigerant it uses.
Publix's decision to use a centralized water-chilling facility to keep food in its new supermarket cold and manage the building's air temperature builds on the grocer's previous efforts to improve the sustainability of its business. In 2018, Publix announced it had started using carbon dioxide instead of chemical refrigerants in air-conditioning units at some of its stores to help reduce its impact on the environment.
Meanwhile, Publix is positioning its newly announced line of plant-based tenders, which it announced earlier this month, as a way for consumers to meet their sustainability goals. Last year, the grocer started working with a land-based salmon farm to further sustainable seafood. The grocer also sources local foods and works with local hydroponic growers and has donated to organizations working to support the environment, among other steps.
The Tampa store continues Publix’s expansion of its new-concept GreenWise Market, after opening the first one in Tallahassee, Florida, in 2018. Now, nine GreenWise Markets are open, with a 10th planned for St. Augustine, Florida.
At 26,000 square feet, the store is almost half the size of an average Publix and is the second GreenWise format to open in a high-rise, multi-use building. The store, which has two apartment towers above it, aims to serve as a destination for meals.
Refrigeration, which can result in leaking greenhouse gases, has been a challenge for the grocery industry. Grocers have been joining the GreenChill program, a partnership run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that works with retailers, refrigeration system and chemical manufacturers to minimize refrigerant emissions. GreenChill had more than 662 certified stores, including Publix ones, in 2020.