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Alliance Engineering – Environmental Sustainability in Refrigerants and the Phase Out of HFCs

What are HFCs?

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are manufactured for use in refrigeration and air conditioning. While HFCs are non-ozone depleting, their global warming potential (GWP) is high.

Beginning in 2019, HFCs will be phased out as part of a landmark deal between 140 countries committed to lessening the environmental impact of these powerful, climate-warming pollutants.

History of HFC

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were phased out as a result of the 1987 Montreal Protocol, with HFCs introduced as an alternative. This allowed the ozone layer opportunity for recovery and has been heralded as one of the world’s greatest environmental success stories.

The parties to the Montreal Protocol have been negotiating since 2009, and recently reached a successful agreement on the Kigali Amendment, continuing the Montreal Protocol’s historical legacy.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, signed in 2016, is a pathway for a global phase down of HFCs, beginning in 2019. This amendment aims to replace HFCs with more environmentally-friendly alternatives, which has renewed interest in and availability of sustainable solutions in production and manufacturing.

The evolution of the Montreal Protocol speaks to the global interest in both developed and developing nations to stop climate change.

How does this affect me? (Canadian Regulations)

Regulatory amendments on HFCs aim to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions and limit GWP. The amendments ensure that Canada is on track to meet its obligations under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Because HFCs are now a controlled substance under the Protocol, prohibitions on the manufacturing, exporting and importing of equipment containing HFCs have been introduced.

At Alliance, we provide solutions for sustainable construction based upon programs such as LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BOMA BESt (Building Environmental Standards). By using programs that calculate the impact of ozone depletion, global warming, equipment life, leakage rate, and refrigerant charge, we are always considering the most effective, cost-conscious and healthy options available.

What are the safe alternatives?

The introduction of hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerants—a low GWP, non-ozone depleting solution—provide a common alternative to CFCs and HFCs, and global renewed interest in natural refrigerants has further enhanced opportunities for research and development of sustainable refrigerants.

Natural refrigerants, such as CO2, are rising in popularity as companies become more aware of their carbon footprint and look for ways to reduce their impact.

By offering refrigerant efficiencies with less environmental impact, Alliance can aid in the transition to more sustainable solutions in refrigerants. 

What must I do?

Alliance is committed to helping to provide lower GWP solutions through proactive leadership in environmental sustainability. We can advise on refrigerant management plans, considerations for new installations, options for retrofitting existing equipment to meet regulations, and more.

Choosing equipment that you can count on is key, and while there are no perfect refrigerants, taking a balanced approach with a focus on safety, environmental impact and efficiency is recommended.

Safety – Ensure your equipment is regularly maintained. Leak tightness is key! Safe equipment means lower emissions, higher efficiencies, and lower cost.

Environmental impact – While there are no perfect refrigerants, alternatives including ammonia, CO2 and hydrocarbons are readily available, safe and designed for a more sustainable future.

Efficiency – Some existing equipment can be converted or retrofitted to use lower GWP, such as HFOs and natural refrigerants.

Phasing out HFCs, documenting equipment, retrofitting existing equipment with new refrigerants, and providing awareness of Canadian refrigerant regulations as they evolve will reduce the impact of these greenhouse gases.

By taking the necessary steps to encourage an environmentally conscious plan of action, we ensure a healthier future with the necessary steps in place to reduce global emissions

Please contact us today for a refrigerant management quote.