This week the US-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalised two rulings which will lower hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and harmful greenhouse gases used in air conditioning, refrigeration and foam blowing.
The move comes in time for next week's important Montreal Protocol meetings in Kigali, Rwanda where countries aim to come to a global agreement on HFC phase down.
“EIA welcomes this next step in a series of domestic actions to prepare the U.S. market for, and build a solid foundation toward, implementing a global phase down of HFCs.”
The EIA is not satisfied with the ruling, however, because it excludes HFCs and HFC blends with high GWPs of between 600 to 1,400.
Another rule focuses on refrigerant management and makes it illegal to vent HFCs or HFC blends when a contractor is servicing or dismantling old air conditioning or refrigeration equipment.
Refrigerant leakage is tackled by the rules too. Leak thresholds will be much lower. Before, for example, supermarkets were allowed to leak up to 35% of the total amount of refrigerant in their systems a year before having to repair them. Now, the threshold drops to 20% a year. Industrial and commercial cooling leak thresholds are lower too.
“...EIA expects that additional SNAP rulemakings will be necessary within the next one to two years to meet anticipated global HFC phase down targets.”