The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute is praising an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MP) to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in the treaty's purview. Acknowledging the success of the MP in phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), AHRI says it has long supported including HFCs in a global phasedown plan under the treaty.
"While the freeze dates and step down levels are ambitious, the HVACR industry is confident we can meet them and continue to provide quality, innovative, energy efficient products and equipment for the benefit of the world's citizens," said AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek, who attended the Kigali meeting.
"The agreement is just the first step in a multi-step process," Yurek continued. "Our industry is hard at work doing the research on the HFC alternatives that will be used in the world's air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigeration equipment, and getting that right is certainly as important as reaching agreement. Also very important are the education and training initiatives that will have to occur to ensure safe, efficient installation of the equipment that will contain these new refrigerants. Some of this is already being undertaken by AHRI in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Program and other global organizations.”
AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have worked for many years to ensure a phasedown of these chemicals. In 2011, AHRI initiated a global refrigerant research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP), to identify the most promising HFC alternatives. After two phases of research, the most promising alternatives are currently classified as mildly flammable or flammable, so additional field research is being undertaken to determine their suitability in different applications. That research is being sponsored by AHRI, ASHRAE, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the state of California.