DeCicco & Sons’ newest store has been awarded Platinum GreenChill certification — the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s highest sustainability award for food retailers. The new store in Larchmont, NY, has invested in refrigeration systems that use natural refrigerants.

The store installed a Hillphoenix Advansor CO2 Booster System that uses carbon dioxide-based refrigerant with a global-warming potential (GWP) rating of 1. It’s a significant leap in sustainability compared to traditional, hydrofluorocarbon-based refrigerant, which can have a GWP rating as high as 3,985.

The CO2 refrigeration system also cuts energy costs and reduces product shrink because it keeps temperatures more consistent than traditional systems.

“We get two to three more days of shelf life from meat merchandised in CO2 cases,” explained John DeCicco Jr., president of the six-store grocery chain.

“The advanced refrigeration system in this DeCicco & Sons store demonstrates the company’s environmental leadership,” said Tom Land, manager of the EPA’s GreenChill Partnership. “Customers want to shop in stores that share their environmental values.”

While the CO2 refrigeration system is a cornerstone of the Larchmont store, it is just one of many sustainable features. Others include:

• Construction certified by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)

• Rooftop solar panels that supply more than half the store’s electricity

• Energy-efficient, long-lasting LED lights

• Water-saving fixtures and appliances

The idea for the eco-friendly store was born when DeCicco began working with a local utility on ways to reduce energy consumption in his other stores and saw the potential savings and sustainability that could be achieved in a fully “green” operation. After four months of planning and six months of construction, the Larchmont store opened in December.

Shoppers praise the results, DeCicco said. “Our customers really do care that we are lowering emissions and reducing waste in their community.”