Canadian Consulting Engineer

Canada commits to phasing out HFCs

At the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City on September 23, Canada committed to a regulation that will have profound effects on the HVAC&R and building industry.

October 7, 2014   Canadian Consulting Engineer

At the United Nations Climate Summit in New York City on September 23, Canada committed to a regulation that will have profound effects on the HVAC&R and building industry.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the government will publish a Notice of Intent to regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, as well as insulating foam.

HFCs were introduced decades ago as an alternative to ozone-depleting CFCs when these were phased out under the Montreal Protocol. But while HFCs do not destroy the ozone layer, they produce a lot of greenhouse gases. Some HFCs are up to 14,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already filed rules for limiting the use of super-potent HFCs when safe alternatives exist. It is determining which chemicals can and cannot be used under its SNAP program.

The Canadian government says their regulations will align with the U.S.’s proposed regulations.

Currently HFCs only account for 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions but due to the increasing demand for air conditioning they are the fastest growing source of GHG emissions in the world. If unchecked HFC-related emissions are expected to increase 10-15% per year.

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico have been lobbying for the Montreal Protocol to be amended to include HFCs.

The U.S. Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) which represents manufacturers has promised to invest $5 billion in research and development over the next decade to develop the next generation of refrigerants for HVAC equipment.


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