Refrigeration Briefs

ICARHMA's Refrigerant Policy Statement
The International Council of Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating Manufacturers' Associations (ICARHMA) wants to help ensure that future discussions of refrigerants cover all the bases. In response to global policy discussions about refrigerants, their responsible use, and their potential environmental impact, ICARHMA recentlypublished a policy statement intended to provide a framework for such discussions going forward. The statement can be found at http://bit.ly/ICARHMAStatement.

"This is a forthright attempt by ICARHMA to help influence the parameters of constructive conversation," says James Walters, ICARHMA's vice president of international affairs, in an exclusive interview with ContractingBusiness.com. Walters says ICARHMA members are concerned that, in future discussions of the merits of potential alternative refrigerants by industry and government, those refrigerants’ global warming potential (GWP) will receive the lion’s share of attention.

"The issue here isn’t whether people are using HFCs or anything else, safely. We fully expect responsible industry members and responsible companies to operate safely, and consider all the good practices one normally would follow. This is also not an attempt to write a good practice guide; it's an attempt to contribute to an ongoing discussion about how and which refrigerants might be used, if there were a phase-out of HFCs," Walters says.

The statement has two primary points: choosing the appropriate refrigerant and using refrigerants responsibly. Through this statement, ICARHMA members stress the importance of selecting the appropriate refrigerant based on all criteria, including: cost effectiveness in the intended application, energy efficiency, global warming potential, and safety. In addition, to fully understand the total global warming potential of a particular refrigerant, a standardized Life Cycle Climate Performance (LCCP) calculation or Total Equivalent Warming Impact (TEWI) must be used in any evaluation.

"Other things need to be considered," Walters explains. "Number one, there's no silver bullet. There's no one refrigerant that fits all applications. So the first question should be, ‘what is the application intended for? Where are you going to use X, Y, or Z refrigerant?’ ICARHMA members are saying, you have to talk about a refrigerant’s performance, safety, cost of use, and cost to the environment. The containment and efficient use of refrigerants is an important element that should be applied in decisions involving refrigerants. The policy statement highlights a number of principles to consider in its Responsible Use of Refrigerants section."

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