Background to the Refrigerant Ban
The HCFC refrigerant ban takes effect at different times but the end of 2009 and 2010 marks important milestones and you may need to take immediate action.
Initial legislation against ozone depleting substances arose from the Montreal Protocol, a globally agreed plan brokered by the industrialised nations. Although the EU is a signatory to the protocol, subsequent EU legislation has been much more vigorous in its approach to the phasing out of these substances.
In most cases, the refrigerants containing CFCs or HCFCs will become controlled waste, which will require appropriate disposal by a licensed contractor. There is a duty of care on behalf of the owner of the equipment from which the refrigerants are extracted.
Strategies for CFC Phase-Out (extract from Office Of Government Commerce)
1) Investigate the identity of your refrigerants; (CAU can assist in this regard and provide details of consultants who can prepare a sampling study and report for your property).
2) Adapt to the phase out by conserving stocks for the next year followed by conversion of machinery to non-CFC refrigerants. Industry recommendations state that conversion would probably not be cost effective in systems with less than 5 years residual life.
3) Buy new CFC-free equipment. An assessment should be undertaken before purchase to ensure that air conditioning is truly necessary, remembering that an air-conditioned building can consume up to three times the energy of a similar non air-conditioned building.
4) Do without air conditioning. If buildings can be ventilated and heated adequately using mechanical or natural ventilation, then this may be a pragmatic approach, which will also have space and cost saving benefits.
ODP – Ozone Depleting Potential. Represented as a comparative measurement from the ODP of CFC11, which is taken to have a value of 1.0. CFC – chlorofluorocarbon. Containing chlorine and possessing a large ODP. CFCs are generally found in refrigeration and air conditioning systems eg. Centrifugal Chillers. HCFC – hydrochlorofluorocarbon. Less saturated with chlorine, the hydrogen within these compounds mean that HCFCs have a much shorter atmospheric life span and thus possess a lower ODP.
As from Midnight December 31st 2009 the use of virgin HCFC Refrigerants will be illegal.
The EU Ozone Regulation has already banned the use of CFC refrigerants in existing plants and HCFC refrigerants in new plants.
From 2010 banning the use of HCFC refrigerants in existing plants will commence, meaning that all HCFC refrigerants including R22 will be completely banned.
The use of Virgin HCFC’s will be banned from Midnight 31st December 2009. The use of Recycled HCFC’s will be banned from 31st December
2014. These ‘use’ bans apply to the use of HCFC’s for plant maintenance and you cannot use previously purchased stockpiles.