What are Refrigerants/HFCs?
- Refrigerants are heat transfer mediums used in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps.
- The most common refrigerants are Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and their use has been rapidly increasing worldwide.
- HFCs are human-made fluorinated chemicals, and extremely potent greenhouse gasses, with global warming potentials (GWPs) that can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) in contributing to global warming.
Why do Refrigerants matter?
- Refrigerants offer the single biggest solution to reverse global warming by Project Drawdown.
- F-Gases are already the fastest growing Greenhouse Gas, globally. This is set to accelerate as more cooling is needed in a warming world, and as heat pumps are adopted at scale in the race to decarbonize heat.
- Refrigerant emissions (aka. Scope-1 Fugitive Emissions) are often overlooked as a significant GHG reduction pathway and climate change lever.
Get in touch to discuss how we can help you address your refrigerant GHG emissions
What are the new US EPA Refrigerant Regulations?
The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act aims to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 85% in the United States by 2036. Passage of the Act will ensure the U.S. joins the worldwide phase down of HFCs, a transition that offers enormous climate benefits by helping the effort to avoid an increase of up to one-half degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century.
It currently includes 3 rules;
- ‘HFC Allowance Allocation and Reporting’ Rule – Reduces HFC supply; establishes the methodology for allocating HFC production and consumption allowances (reduced availability and higher prices are very likely)
- ‘Technology Transition’ Rule (Finalized Oct 6th 2023) – Reduces HFC Demand by requiring step changes in purchasing and/or specification of lower-GWP equipment, and workforce training for installation and maintenance of new lower-GWP equipment
- ‘Management of HFCs and Substitutes’ Rule (Proposed Oct 6th 2023) – Reduces HFC Demand. The first federal rule under the AIM act that directly affects existing equipment using HFCs; maximizing reclaiming and minimizing releases of HFCs to further cut demand and thus emissions of the super-polluting GHGs that are used as refrigerants today.
Compliance with the AIM Act will impact all owners and operators of built assets.
For owners and operators to achieve their Net Zero goals, sustainability objectives, or GHG reduction targets, going over and above the AIM Act requirements is critical to success.
The good news is that solutions already exist today.
A refrigerant strategy and action plan is essential for any business with built assets to achieve emissions reduction aligned to a 1.5 degree future.
effecterra works with some of the world’s biggest companies on this challenge, and can help you navigate compliance requirements of these new US regulations as well as maximize environmental impact and optimize costs of doing so.
Learn more by reading through our free Refrigerants Factsheet
The AIM Act offers Congress an extraordinary chance for bipartisan action that protects the climate and builds the economy. It will help avoid a disastrous increase in global temperatures (up to a half-degree Celsius) and create some 33,000 American jobs and promote billions in American exports—without tax breaks or federal spending.
Curbing the release of HFC ‘super-pollutants’ is one of the most impactful measures we can take to slow the rate of climate change, potentially avoid some of its most costly outcomes, and protect the health and safety of the American people,