Costa Rica Adopts IIAR Standards   

In late January Costa Rica officially adopted several standards from the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration to govern ammonia refrigeration facilities in the country. Costa Rica is the first to take such a progressive move in Latin America, and others in the region are taking note.“ Because of what’s happening in Costa Rica, other Latin American countries are taking an interest, particularly Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia. "Costa Rica did it efficiently, so these other countries are reaching out to us to see how they can emulate that,” Yesenia Rector, IIAR’s International Director, said. “It’s a significant step toward developing safe norms within the industry in all Latin America.” “It’s a snowball effect, and Costa Rica is the pioneer,” she added. “They’re setting the example.” 

Costa Rica has always been forward thinking in regards to energy efficiency and global climate change, Rector said. The country has made a commitment to be 100 percent carbon neutral by 2021, and the adoption of IIAR standards is a major step in that direction. “Costa Rica is one of the greenest countries in the world,” Rector said. “They are being very aggressive in reducing their carbon footprint... They’re doing everything they can to reach their goal.” Part of that is the effort to make use of more natural refrigerants, with a specific focus on ammonia. However, it’s not enough to simply make this switch – the country needed regulations in place to ensure these facilities were designed, installed, maintained and decommissioned properly. Moving in that direction, Costa Rica began exploring IIAR regulations several years ago, and realized they were the standards they would like to see used in their own country. The process of converting measures and translating the regulatory language was completed recently, and the country has now formally adopted IIAR-2, IIAR-4 and IIAR-8.

In late January, Rector along with IIAR President David Rule and others traveled to Costa Rica to hold a seminar educating local end users, engineers, designers and contractors about the intricacies of the newly adopted standards as well as to meet with Claudia Dobles Camargo, Costa Rica’s first lady. The standards are now being adopted by Costa Rican facilities on a voluntary basis, but IIAR is working with the allied association CIEMI, Costa Rica’s College of Electrical, Mechanical and Industrial Engineers, and CFIA, to codify them into regulatory frameworks. “The first lady is in full support of this,” Rector said. “She’s a very strong supporter.” After the standards are codified into regulation, the next step for IIAR is to organize educational programming in the country. “We’ll guide them and provide them with materials that we’ve developed already as the part of the Academy of Natural Refrigerants,” Rector said. “That’s what we’re concentrating on next.” David Solis, the Central American and Caribbean IIAR chapter chair will deliver a presentation about Costa Rica’s adoption of IIAR standards and the progress Latin America is making regionally at IIAR’s annual conference in Phoenix in March.

"Costa Rica is one of the greenest countries in the world. They are being very aggressive in reducing their carbon footprint... They're doing everything they can to reach their goal." 
-Yesenia Rector, IIAR's International Director