To reduce emissions by manufacturing facilities that either produce, use, store, or transport refrigerants, the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, released new guidelines for handling refrigerants to minimize their potential environmental impact.
For related coverage in TFM, see “Rejuvenating HVAC” from the archives.
According to a 2005 industry survey, in the past 10 years the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry has made substantial expenditures to control refrigerant emissions. More than 70% of survey respondents said they have reduced emissions by 25% to 75% at their facilities, and more than 50% of respondents built new facilities with a zero emission goal.
Some of the refrigerants used in air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs); hydrochloroflourocarbons (HCFCs), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are greenhouse gases. ARI‚s responsible-use guide contains specific recommendations for minimizing their release into the environment during every phase of the manufacturing process.
Examples of recommendations include: using a process to detect refrigerant loss during manufacturing; minimizing refrigerant emissions through preventive maintenance of refrigerant handling equipment; recovering and recycling waste refrigerants if possible; properly storing refrigerants in pressure vessels that meet national, state, and local regulations; monitoring transported or shipped equipment for leakage and taking corrective action when necessary; and designing packaging to minimize refrigerant loss during shipping.
The ARI Responsible-Use Guide for Minimizing Fluorocarbon Emissions in Manufacturing Facilities can be found on ARI’s Web site.