Refrigerant is a vital component of any machine that provides cooling from new ultra-high efficiency units to legacy chillers. Refrigerant chemicals transfer heat out of your store – cooling customers and employees in the summer and with heat pumps, reversing outdoor heat to indoor air. Refrigerants have been an important component of HVAC equipment and over the years, manufacturers have worked to make these chemicals cleaner and safer for the environment. One of the most significant changes for HVAC professionals, building owners, and facility managers is the EPA R-22 phase-out.
In 1987, researchers concluded that chemical compounds in widely used refrigerants are a major source of destruction to the lower atmosphere of our planet. Research has shown that once these compounds reach the stratosphere, the sun’s ultraviolet rays break down the compound and release chlorine. The resulting damage depletes the ozone layer that protects organisms on Earth from harmful UV rays.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raised concerns about R-22 and for more than two decades has worked with manufacturers to eliminate the refrigerant through the use of alternative products or upgraded HVAC systems. The gradual phasing out of R-22 is nearly complete and by 2020, will be virtually impossible to obtain.
R-22 Phase Out – What You Need To Know:
- The U.S. EPA has tried to reduce the use of R-22 by imposing strict quotas on its production.
- Since 2010, the EPA has also banned the sale of new air conditioning units containing R-22 and has encouraged the recycling of the gas from old machines so it will not be released.
- It is imperative that property owners, managers and facilities personnel work with a knowledgeable HVAC professional to develop a strategy and plan to retro t, renew or upgrade systems to comply with the R-22 phase out.
EPA Regulated R-22 Consumption Allowances:
- 28% reduction in R-22 consumption allowances from 2016 to 2017
- Declining consumption allowances each year
- Zero consumption allowances starting in 2020
There are many factors that should be considered when developing a strategy to implement the R-22 phase-out. Developing a strategy with the help of a knowledgeable HVAC facilities management partner will likely produce a more efficient, budget-conscious outcome that will put downtime and long-term savings at the forefront of your plan.
In part two of our series on R-22 phase-out, we’ll share key risks associated with R-22, important considerations for building owners, managers, and facilities personnel, and questions to ask your HVAC repair and management partner.
To learn more about the R-22 phase out and explore options to improve your HVAC efficiencies, contact the experts at Evergreen Air Conditioning.