NOTE: This article has been updated with some additions and corrections since its original posting from the 2023 AHR Expo on Feb. 7.
As the phasedown of HFC refrigerants continues, the HVAC industry is left largely transitioning to “mildly flammable” refrigerants with low global-warming potential (GWP), said Emerson’s Jennifer Butsch on Feb. 7 at the 2023 AHR Expo in Atlanta. There are many standards undergoing updates to include these A2L alternatives:
- UL 60335-2-89 (2021): a commercial refrigeration equipment standard that includes mechanical, electrical and refrigerant safety.
- UL 60335-2-40 (2022): an air conditioning equipment standard that includes mechanical, electrical and refrigerant safety.
- ASHRAE 15 (2022): Specifies safety required for installing and using commercial equipment based on occupancy type.
- EPA (commercial refrigeration): Several A1 and propane (small charge) approved, awaiting SNAP 26 rule for A2Ls and increased A3 limits, proposal expected this year.
- EPA (AC/HP): SNAP 23 approved R32 and R454B for use.
- EPA (Chillers): SNAP 25 proposed R32 and R454B for use, approval expected this year.
Butsch added that using carbon dioxide will also have an impact in commercial refrigeration.
There is much education needed to prepare the industry for A2Ls before the January 2025 transition deadline. “AHRI has taken the lead in educating states to adopt the latest UL and ASHRAE Safety Standards,” Butsch noted.
Refrigerant reclamation efforts are still crucial to the HVACR industry and should be continued.