Stephen Spletzer is a principal engineer for Opteon refrigerants at The Chemours Company. Chemours is a global chemistry company focused on developing next generation, environmentally friendly, thermal management solutions that meet the most challenging demands today and tomorrow.
Host Vic Marinich, global marketing director for air conditioning at Danfoss, is joined by Stephen Spletzer of Chemours to discuss state adoption of building codes to allow the use of low GWP (often flammable) refrigerants in residential, commercial, and light industrial applications.
- This episode was recorded in January 2023.
- In 2016, when the Kigali Amendment was signed, creating a framework to reduce HFCs, there was no federal regulation or mechanism in place in the U.S. to allow for a phasedown at the federal level. So a number of states enacted their own legislation for phasedown, creating sector controls or GWP limits on what products could be used going forward.
- In 2020, Congress passed the AIM Act that gave the EPA the authority to administer an HFC phasedown where they had to reduce us consumption of HFCs to 15% of our baseline over 15 years. By January 1, 2024, we have to meet a 40% reduction from the baseline.
- To make sure this transition happens as smoothly and effectively, the EPA created the allocation rule, where essentially they determined how much HFCs we can consume as a country and how much individual companies or manufacturers can use.
- Restrictions are beginning to be put in place for new air condition and refrigeration systems. Manufacturers will need to use new refrigerants that meet the low GWP requirements.
- Standards for commercial refrigeration applications have been updated to allow for larger charge sizes and broader use of flammable refrigerants. There are also updated requirements for CO2, particularly around pressure testing requirements to help make sure new installations going in the field are safer.
- The recently updated UL 60335 2-40 standard set forth additional safety requirements for the use of low-GWP refrigerants, such as requiring refrigerant detectors for some systems to help mitigate the risk of leaked refrigerant.
- ASHRAE 15 and 15.2 were updated in 2022. The updates include guidance on piping requirements, leak mitigation techniques, refrigerant detection, ventilation and releasable charge. If you work in the residential space, you need to know 15.2.
- Standards are continuously updated and need to be adopted into building codes, the UMC and IMC. Since the development of the refrigeration standards has been lagging a bit compared to air conditioning, there is not much language around commercial refrigeration in the codes. ASHRAE 15.2 has also not yet been included in residential code. Inclusion of those updates is critical for the next model code cycle.
- Currently, roughly half the states have enabled the use of low-GWP refrigerants in air conditioning through either direct updates to their state codes or legislation. Over the next two years, we will see a major push from the industry to get all 50 states across the line so by January 1, 2025, the whole country can move forward with the HFC phasedown and be able to install new equipment using low-GWP refrigerants.
If you would like to learn more about next generation refrigerant solutions by The Chemours Company, visit our website at Opteon.com
To learn more about the AIM Act and HFC phasedown, visit https://www.epa.gov/climate-hfcs-reduction/aim-act
To learn more about UL 60335 2-40 and for resources from UL on refrigerant transition, visit https://www.ul.com/services/flammable-refrigerants-testing-air-conditioning-and-refrigeration
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For more information and additional episodes of the EnVisioneering Exchange podcast, visit https://www.danfoss.com/en-us/about-danfoss/insights-for-tomorrow/envisioneering-exchange/