EPA Finalizes Two Rules to Reduce Use and Emissions of Potent Greenhouse Gases HFCs in Refrigerants and Air Conditioning

By October 6, 2016 No Comments

Summary of EPA news release, September 26, 2016

On September 26, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized two rules that will reduce the projected growth and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of chemicals commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning.  HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that can be hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

First, under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act, EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program is adding to the list of safer and more climate-friendly chemicals for use in the refrigeration and air conditioning and fire suppression sectors; listing several new substitutes as unacceptable in specific end-uses in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector; and changing the status of a number of substitutes to unacceptable.

Second, EPA is strengthening the refrigerant management program under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act and extending the regulations to non-ozone depleting substitutes such as HFCs and other substitutes.  The rule lowers the leak rate at which large air conditioning and refrigeration appliances must be repaired, and incorporates industry best practices such as verifying repairs and conducting regular leak inspections on leaking appliances.

The U.S. and other participating countries in the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will be convening from October 10-14, in Kigali, Rwanda, for the final 2016 negotiating session for an international HFC phasedown agreement.  HFCs are commonly used as replacements for ozone-depleting substances.

For more information go to the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program rule and the Section 608 rule, which also includes fact sheets on how specific industries and property/facility managers will be affected.

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