EU sees sense on HFCs

Published:  05 March, 2014

SpaceAir

As long-standing UK distributors for Daikin Europe — arguably the world’s leading manufacturer of air-conditioning, refrigeration and heat- pump equipment that largely rely upon HFC refrigerants — we have always taken a keen interest in the F Gas Regulation and, in particular the on going review. This is one of the reasons we have supported the continued involvement of our marketing director, Mike Nankivell in ACRIB’s F Gas implementation group since 2006.

The news that at the end of January this year the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee had adopted the latest F Gas review agreement with an overwhelming majority was seen by us as an extremely positive step in the final stages of the review process.

The draft regulation can now move forward to a European Parliament Plenary vote in March. When it has been formally endorsed by the Council, we can expect the new F Gas Regulation to be published in the Official Journal for implementation early in 2015.

Why was the ENVI vote such a positive step? Well, despite including certain market restrictions and usage bans that we hoped could be avoided, particularly for higher-GWP refrigerants, that will impact the commercial refrigeration market, at least we can now see some certainty going forward in relation to comfort air conditioning and heat pumps, with a revised Regulation which we trust will give specifiers and investors confidence that HFCs remain a viable refrigerant choice in many critical applications. Critical, because much more development work is required before HFC alternatives offer the essential energy efficiencies needed to reduce the environmental impact of our buildings, caused in the main by energy consumption and not refrigerant leakage. 

As a company with several
 decades of industry
 experience, we became
 increasingly concerned that
 well intentioned environmental 
lobby groups were
 nevertheless making 
misleading claims regarding 
the impact of refrigerant leakage — citing HFCs used in refrigeration and air conditioning as having a global-warming potential up to 23 000 times greater than that of CO2, when in fact this figure related to a relatively low volume and easily replaced greenhouse gas only used in limited industrial processes and unrelated to refrigeration or air conditioning. We also saw repeated but unsupported claims regarding the suitability and availability of HFC alternatives across a wide range of applications, which is simply not yet the case.

We are sure It has been thanks to input by organisations such as ACRIB, FETA and, in Europe, EPEE, as well as independent expert advisors to the EC, that the MEPs and legislators had reliable information to help them understand the real potential for damaging consequences of premature HFC bans — not least because this would have resulted in major difficulties in terms of meeting energy efficiency objectives but also in product availability and industry skill sets.

The new F Gas Regulation should introduce a reasonable, managed phase down of HFCs, between 2016 and 2030, to allow a gradual and effective change over to alternatives where this is technically feasible, alongside a strengthening of enforcement of existing containment requirements.

To have introduced wider-ranging HFC bans could have had very serious, if unintended consequences that neither the security of our environment nor the European economy could afford. 

For more information on this story, click here: March 2014, 6

comments powered by Disqus

Search

Welcome

Welcome to Modern Building Services Online, the web edition of Modern Building Services (MBS) journal and the UK's most popular Building Services engineering site. Modern Building Services covers the entire Building Services Engineering industry. This site contains archived content from the journal, plus web-specific content.

When you go to our digital edition, you can also access the archive of digital editions.
December 2018: DIGITAL EDITION

ARCHIVE OF DIGITAL EDITIONS

Modern Building services has a group
on Linkedin - join us!

Jobs

  • Senior Building Services Engineer

      Invitations are invited from experienced Building Services Engineers to assist in the development of a new division within an established professional practice. The projects will be predominantly with Defence-related and Government establishments but w......

  • Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) Engineer

      Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Imperial has one of the largest and most diverse university estate portfolios in......

  • Engineering Technical Assistant

      Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Imperial has one of the largest and most diverse university estate portfolios in......

more jobs »

Poll

"Is the Building Services industry lagging behind in the implementation of BIM?"