R22 refrigerant gas is one of the guilty parties when it comes to harming the environment even though it is vital to our economy, society, and safety of our ice cream. That’s why the United States and many other countries around the world have joined together in an effort to convert usage of R22 refrigerant in commercial facilities to more environmentally friendly alternatives. Among the refrigerants approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in commercial facilities are ammonia, R404A and R407c. The newer generation of refrigerants, classified as SNAP refrigerants, contain non of the negative effects of current HCFCs.
The conversion process is already underway among many organizations that own or operate heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC-R) systems to meet the 2015 phase out deadline. Many organizations are already well into the process of implementing software solutions to help with the management, tracking, and reporting of refrigerant gases. This will only help manage their existing inventory of refrigerant gas (R22). Used extensively throughout the world, R22 refrigerant is vital to the operation of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC-R) systems installed in the majority of commercial and business facilities. It can also be found in process chiller and industrial refrigerant plants. The widespread use of the chemical is a paramount concern because when a leak occurs hydrochlorofluorocarbons are released. They are deemed harmful because they damage the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.
Under proposed amendments to a 2009 law (starting in California then perhaps nationally via the EPA), reporting requirements became stiffer. Companies using systems containing 50 pounds or more of R22 refrigerant must submit annual reports of its usage, service, and leaks, while facilities with larger systems have a more frequent reporting schedule and in some cases requirements on automatic leak detection equipment. As a result of new environmental laws, managing the use of R22 refrigerant gas is more important than ever as government regulators can conduct unannounced spot checks to ensure tracking records comply with the reporting requirements. If there is a refrigerant leak, documentation must show how the gases were recovered. Many of the concerns laid out here are on top of the fact that the supply of R22 will be 20% below market demand by next year. In 2010, many organizations will find their supply of R22 much smaller.
Currently, the use of R22 refrigerant is banned in many areas of production, in household equipment and in certain types of vehicles. It is no longer being used in new refrigeration and air conditioning equipment being manufactured after 2010. By 2010, the use of new R22 refrigerant in the maintenance and servicing of existing refrigeration and air conditioning systems will be banned. By 2015, organizations using recycled R22 refrigerant for the same purposes will be prohibited.
Under the U.S. The U.S. Clean Air Act contains requirements that restrict or limit organizations from using R-22 refrigerant gas. This regulation spells out the refrigerant gas management protocols as they relate to gas recovery, recycling, and destruction for service repairs or system retirement. A collection of progressive businesses have already adopted web-based applications to centrally manage, track, and report refrigerant gas usage. These solutions eliminate many of the data management errors, allow for automatic lead rate calculations according to the EPA rules, and allow for electronic reporting according to the rules of legislative bodies.
R22 is one of a long list of harmful chemicals identified by the EPA, as well as other international governments, to be harmful to the environment and ozone layer. More recently, these substances have shown to have global warming potential. The effort to phase out dangerous substances will help the world reach its unified goal of recovering the damage done to date to the ozone layer and improve the overall health of the environment for years to come.