Aldi US commits to natural refrigerants
Aldi has announced that it will transition to “natural refrigerants” across all of its US stores before the end of 2035. This new goal builds on the grocer’s use of “environmentally friendly” refrigerants in more than 600 of the 2,357 stores it operates across the USA. Aldi says it will deploy a purchasing strategy that incorporates the best refrigerant solution for each region’s distinct climate – including both CO2 and propane refrigerants. In a press statement, Aldi said: “Beginning this year, Aldi will purchase environmentally friendly refrigerants for all new and remodeled stores and replace the current refrigerants in existing stores with refrigerants that have low global warming potential.” Read more
2024 Brings Sweeping Changes to the HVACR Industry
Happy New Year! And welcome to the second stage of the HFC phasedown as mandated by the AIM Act. As of January 1, 2024, the production of high-GWP HFC refrigerants, such as R-410A, R-134a, and R-404A, has been reduced by an additional 30% of the baseline, which is on top of the 10% cut that took effect on January 1, 2022. The previous cut did not have a significant impact on the HVACR industry, but the 40% total cut this year is likely going to hurt. Indeed, experts predict that this large cut could lead to shortages and significant price increases of popular refrigerants, such as R-410A. Read more
Countries Agree on a Nearly Billion-Dollar HFC Phasedown Fund
Countries took big steps to protect the ozone layer and the climate at the 35th annual Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP)—the treaty that includes every nation on earth—in Nairobi, Kenya, late last month. They agreed on a record amount of $965 million in funding for developing country actions in 2024–2026, as well as additional studies on various topics, such as hydrofluorocarbon-23 (HFC-23) emissions, lifecycle refrigerant management (LRM), and geoengineering technologies like stratospheric aerosol injections; also discussed were further assessments of concerning chemicals and the advantages of improving energy efficiency while phasing down HFCs. Read more
Amazon Fresh store in Seattle becomes world’s first grocery to win Zero Carbon certification
An Amazon Fresh store in North Seattle is the world’s first grocery store to be certified as Zero Carbon by an international nonprofit promoting sustainable buildings. It’s also the first Amazon site to land the designation, the company announced on Thursday.
The 35,000-square-foot store includes a refrigeration system using natural refrigerants, a kitchen and hot water heating system powered by electricity instead of natural gas, floors made of a low-carbon concrete, and electric-vehicle charging for customers. Read More
US tackles climate-warming HFC industrial gases with new rules
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday announced two new measures aimed at reducing climate-warming chemicals used in refrigerators and air conditioners that can help the U.S. meet its goals to halve its greenhouse gas emissions this decade.
The agency issued a final rule that restricts the use of gases known as hydroflourocarbons, or HFCs, used in 40 types of imported or domestically-manufactured foams, aerosol products, and refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump equipment, setting compliance dates from 2025 to 2028.
HFCs are significantly more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming.
The EPA also issued a proposal that aims to improve how HFCs are managed and reused, setting requirements for repairing leaky equipment, rules for using reclaimed HFCs and leak detection rules for large refrigeration equipment. Read more
US HFC phasedown proceeds as states mull potential bans on substitutes
The US programme that will phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in refrigerants and blowing agents used In polyurethanes will hit some major milestones in the upcoming months – while states consider broad bans on fluorinated materials that could encompass the new chemicals that will replace them, hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs).
The US and other countries in the world are phasing down HFCs because they are exceptionally powerful greenhouse gases. Read more
Norway moving towards natural refrigerants
One of Norway’s largest property administrators, Oslobygg, has mandated the use of natural refrigerants in all comfort cooling systems and heat pumps installed in Oslo’s municipal buildings. The company’s previous requirement was that a refrigerant’s global warming potential (GWP) value should be below 10, which often led to the use of synthetic refrigerants. Read more
Final Rule - Allowance Allocation Methodology for 2024 and Later Years
This final rule establishes the methodology for allocating HFC production and consumption allowances starting with calendar year 2024 allowances. Through this rulemaking, EPA will continue applying a similar methodology to allocate production and consumption allowances for calendar years 2024 through 2028 as the Agency did in the Framework Rule for calendar years 2022 and 2023. EPA also amended the consumption baseline to reflect corrected data submitted to the Agency and made other adjustments to the HFC phasedown implementation, compliance, and enforcement provisions. EPA will start using the approach established through this rulemaking to issue calendar year 2024 allowances by October 1, 2023. Read more
ATMO America: U.S. EPA to Propose HFC Management Provisions by End of Summer
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will publish its proposed HFC management provisions under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act by the end of the summer, according to Cindy Newberg, Director of the agency’s Stratospheric Protection Division. The proposal will consider several factors, including requirements for leak repair, leak-detection equipment and refrigerant reclaim, she said. Read more
US Court strikes out disposable cylinder ban
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule that would have banned non-refillable cylinders in the US.
The US AIM Act to phase down the production and consumption of HFC refrigerants, which signed into law in late 2020, included provisions to ban the sale of non-refillable (disposable) cylinders after December 31, 2024. It also required QR code tracking for individual cylinders through the supply chain. Read more
Natural Refrigerants Codes & Standards Progress
A lot has happened since 2019.
EPA takes first-ever federal Clean Water Act enforcement action to address PFAS discharges at Washington Works facility near Parkersburg, W. Va.
IIAR, in its continuing mission to promote the safe and sustainable use of natural refrigerants, produced the ANSI/IIAR CO2-2021 Safety Standard for Closed-Circuit Carbon Dioxide Refrigeration Systems. As the phase-down of F-gas refrigerants continues to accelerate worldwide, CO2 technology has become an increasingly popular option utilized in the industrial refrigeration sector and, more recently, in the commercial refrigeration sector. Read more
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the Chemours Company to take corrective measures to address pollution from per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in stormwater and effluent discharges from the Washington Works facility near Parkersburg. The order on consent also directs Chemours to characterize the extent of PFAS contamination from discharges. Read more
EPA Finalizes SNAP Rule 25, Proposes SNAP Rule 26
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently published a final rule and proposed a new rule that would allow the use of A2L refrigerants in some new air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. In September 2022, the EPA proposed adding several new low-GWP refrigerants to its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program for some comfort cooling and refrigeration equipment. In April 2023, EPA finalized the rule — known as SNAP Rule 25 — which lists seven refrigerants as acceptable, subject to use conditions, or acceptable, subject to narrowed use limits, in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector. Read more
European Parliament Approves Bans of HFCs and HFOs in Multiple Applications and HFC Phase Out by 2050
Read EPA's Fact Sheet on SNAP 25
In an historic vote, the European Parliament adopted an ambitious position on the revision of the EU F-gas Regulation, supporting an HFC phase out by 2050 and multiple bans on fluorinated greenhouse gases (f-gases, both HFCs and HFOs) in applications such as heat pumps and stationary refrigeration. In particular, in Annex IV – Placing on the market prohibitions on new system – a number of amendments banning f-gases, which were subject to fierce debate among political groups, were adopted. Read more
EPA Announces Enforcement Actions to Control Hydrofluorocarbon Imports
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced several enforcement actions that support national and international goals to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in our fight against climate change. These civil penalty actions include three landmark settlements with HFC importers who failed to report their imported quantities in violation of the Clean Air Act’s (CAA) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program: Artsen Chemical America, LLC ($247,601 penalty), Harp USA, Inc. ($275,000 penalty), and the IGas Companies ($382,473 penalty). EPA is aggressively pursuing similar actions against several other importers that failed to report their HFCs. Read more
What’s All The Fuss About PFAS In Refrigerants?
The latest refrigerant transition is well underway, with the 10% cut in the production of HFC refrigerants that went into effect last year. A much steeper cut happens next year, when production of HFCs must be reduced to 60% of the baseline established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is no question that this stepdown will be a challenge for the HVACR industry. Read more
PFAS ban affects most refrigerant blends
EPA PFAS Strategic Roadmap
The banning of just five refrigerants under the new PFAS regulation proposals would lead to the banning of virtually all the current lower GWP HFC/HFO alternative refrigerant blends. Excluding the current refrigerant blends that are already banned in Europe for containing CFCs or HCFCs, only 13 of the remaining 106 current ASHRAE-listed R400 series blends would escape a PFAS ban. Those 13 outside of the scope are predominantly hydrocarbon blends. Of the 500 series blends, only two, both hydrocarbon blends, are outside of the scope. Read more
EU PFAS ban may include exemptions without viable substitutes
A number of HFC refrigerants and low GWP HFO alternatives could be banned under new PFAS chemical restrictions proposed to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). However, exemptions have been proposed for refrigerants considered PFAS substances used in HVACR equipment in buildings where national safety standards and building codes prohibit the use of alternatives. In what has been described as one of the largest bans on chemical substances ever in Europe, some HFCs including R134a and R125, along with the low GWP alternatives R1234yf, R1234ze(E) and R1233zd(E), are set to be included in a ban under the European REACH regulations. Read more
EPA Proposes Rule to Advance Transition to Safer, More Efficient Heating and Cooling Technologies
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed rule under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act to advance the transition to more efficient heating and cooling technologies by restricting the use of super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in certain products and equipment where more climate friendly alternatives are available. The proposed rule, which would apply both to imported and domestically manufactured products, will help ensure a level playing field for American businesses that are already transitioning to next-generation, safer alternatives and more energy efficient technologies. Read more
Proposed Rule – Technology Transitions Restrictions on the Use of Certain Hydrofluorocarbons under Subsection (i) of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act
The American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act) authorizes EPA to address hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in three main ways: phasing down their production and consumption, maximizing reclamation and minimizing releases from equipment, and facilitating the transition to next-generation technologies through sector-based restrictions. This proposed rule focuses on the third area – the transition to alternatives through sector-based restrictions. Read more
Judges Probe Limits of EPA Authority in Hydrofluorocarbon Rule
A D.C. Circuit panel on Friday probed technical language in a popular law to regulate hydrofluorocarbons, examining claims that the EPA exceeded its authority in implementing portions of the law. Heating and cooling wholesalers and manufactures met the Environmental Protection Agency at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for oral arguments in a lawsuit over portions of the agency’s hydrofluorocarbon phasedown plan. Read more
Joe Biden just signed an international climate treaty. And Mitch McConnell voted for it.
The Montreal Protocol also had a massive unanticipated side benefit. CFCs are also potent greenhouse gases, with some varieties that are more than 13,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide when it comes to heating up the planet. The Montreal Protocol has thus been the single most effective action taken to date to mitigate climate change. There was an unanticipated problem as well. CFCs were replaced with another class of chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in many applications. While HFCs aren’t as damaging to the ozone layer, they are powerful greenhouse gases. The Kigali Amendment, drafted in 2016, aims to zero out HFCs as well. Read More
EPA Opens Comment Period on New HFC Allowance Allocation Rule
Companies that import, produce, or reclaim HFCs should carefully review – and consider submitting comments on – a new rule proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which will determine not only the process for allocating HFC allowances but also obligations relating to import notifications and recordkeeping. Read More