HVAC News Roundup - September 2017

October 4, 2017 / by Elizabeth Ortlieb

Elizabeth Ortlieb

Thanks for joining our HVAC news roundup for September 2017. From a temporary suspension on a U.S. federal court decision regarding a 2015 EPA SNAP HFC Rule to a major Irish refrigeration and A/C wholesaler announcing they will stop selling some popular high GWP refrigerants, much has happened this month.

Let’s get started.

Grey Area: A 2015 EPA Refrigerant Management Rule (SNAP Rule 20)

US Court Decision on SNAP Rule 20 Takes a Dramatic Shift As you know, last month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated part of EPA SNAP Rule 20, prompting refrigerant manufacturers Meixchem and Arkema to extol the decision and Chemours and Honeywell vowing to appeal it. (A recap is found here.)

And, now, the case has taken a dramatic shift. On September 22, Chemours and Honeywell indeed “filed a petition appealing the recent US court decision” and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has also joined them, The Cooling Post reports.

What does this appeal mean for equipment owners? Well, “A spokesperson for the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) said the decision of the 3-judge panel’s verdict would be held in abeyance until the whole court had decided on how to proceed with the case,” explains RAC Magazine.

Need a little refreshing on what SNAP Rule 20 entails? For one, it lists HFCs unacceptable by specific dates in certain end-uses. For instance, R-404A, a popular HFC, is listed as unacceptable in new remote condensing units as of January 1, 2018, and in new stand-alone low-temperature units as of January 1, 2020.

 See the chart below for a glimpse of SNAP Rule 20’s timeline.

Glimpse of SNAP Rule 20

 

2018

 

2019

 

2020

Retail Food (Remote Condensing Units)

New Equipment: HFC-227ea, R-404A, R-407B, R-421B, R-422A(N), R-422C(N), R-422D, R-428A, R-434A, & R-507A unacceptable as of Jan 1 2018 but in question due to SNAP Rule 20 court decision

 

 

 

Retail Food (Stand-Alone Equipment)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New: FOR12A, FOR12B, HFC- 134a, HFC-227ea, KDD6, R-125/290/134a/600a (55.0/1.0/42.5/1.5), R-404A, R-407A, R-407B, R-407C, R-407F, R-410A, R-410B, R-417A, R-421A, R-421B, R-422A, R-422B, R-422C, R-422D, R-424A, R-426A, R-428A, R-434A, R-437A, R-438A, R-507A, RS-24 (2002 formulation), RS-44 (2003 formulation), SP34E, THR- 03 unacceptable as of Jan 1 2019 but impacted by recent court decision on SNAP Rule 20

 

New: FOR12A, FOR12B, HFC- 134a, HFC-227ea, KDD6, R-125/290/134a/600a (55.0/1.0/42.5/1.5), R-404A, R-407A, R-407B, R-407C, R-407F, R-410A, R-410B, R-417A, R-421A, R-421B, R-422A, R-422B, R-422C, R-422D, R-424A, R-426A, R-428A, R-434A, R-437A, R-438A, R-507A, RS-24 (2002 formulation), RS-44 (2003 formulation), SP34E, THR- 03 unacceptable as of Jan 1 2020 but impacted by recent court decision on SNAP Rule 20

 

This chart is just a glimpse of the EPA’s listing dates of acceptability and unacceptability for refrigerants from SNAP refrigerant management program. For a full chart with more equipment types and listing dates expanding from 2017 to 2024, visit our download page. (It’s free!)

When Recordkeeping Becomes Paramount: Recent Hurricanes Turn Attention to Preparedness of HVAC Equipment

Hurricanes and HVAC Assets: Be Prepared for the Unexpected In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, attention has turned to HVAC equipment preparedness, especially with recordkeeping practices, and building resilience.

First, of course, it’s easy to take for granted a seemingly every day essential—air-conditioning—in our daily lives, but, once it’s threatened unexpectedly and by a natural force, things can take a much different turn with a longing for what once was, as is the case after the widespread hurricane destruction in the southern most U.S.

So, with end-users wanting their lives to return to normalcy as quick as possible, HVAC equipment takes on an ever important role, causing a rapid increase in the amount of service requests received by contractors. Particularly, ACHR News reports, “With so much devastation drowning the southern region of Texas, contractors may find it difficult to decide where to begin.”

This is where “’up-to-date records detailing the types of equipment’” becomes very important, as ACHR News goes on to note in one of numerous comments they gathered from key HVAC/R leaders about what service contractors should do after these hurricanes. See “HVACR Leaders Discuss Recovery Assistance” for more details.

Some Solace Found in Stricter Building Codes Additionally, it’s important to mention the important role the spaces this HVAC equipment cools: Buildings, as many acted as a point of refuge for people during the storms. In fact, it gets even more interesting when you go a step further and consider the impact of more stringent of building codes, like in the state of Florida.

For instance, the National Real Estate Investor mentions, “Florida enacted stringent building standards in 1992, following Hurricane Andrew.” Indeed, it's not presumptuous to credit these codes in part for helping to protect people and the environment that surrounds them.

Refrigerant Management Across the Globe

Meanwhile, momentum grows for a new world of refrigerants, when you consider these numerous stories of stakeholders making voluntary commitments for their HVAC assets: 

Irish Wholesaler Bids Farewell to R404A and R507 Major Irish refrigeration and A/C wholesaler RSL plans “to end sales of high GWP refrigerants R404A and R507,” The Cooling Post reports and goes on to describe that “the company said: We believe this is the right thing to do … Continuing to use it [R404A] and creating future requirements is futile.’”

Natural Refrigerants Explored at ATMOsphere Europe 2017 Natural refrigerant developments occurred at the ATMOsphere Europe 2017 conference, which took place in Berlin and opened to the most attendees ever. Stakeholders from many different regions spoke about their experience with natural refrigerants and how they are handling F-Gas ordinances, Hydrocarbon21.com narrates

1st International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) Conference on HFO Application Announced ACHR News reports that the “1st IIR International Conference on the Application of HFO Refrigerants” will take place in Birmingham, UK, next year, from September 3 to September 5.

That concludes our HVAC news roundup for September 2017. Thanks for joining us, and be sure to check back next month. In the meantime, you can review August’s HVAC News Roundup. 

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Important Dates

Compliance Dates

  • LA Building-Energy Benchmarking Submittal Deadline was July 1 but proposed extension of November 1 in progress
  • Pittsburgh Building-Energy Benchmarking Submittal Deadline on December 1
  • New EPA refrigerant regulations take effect January 1

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Now with so many updates on the radar, including CARB's new proposed refrigerant rules and the new EPA refrigerant regulations about to go into effect on January 1, 2018, you may wonder if your facilities and workforce are prepared...

Because of this, we've developed a FREE checklist that identifies the top HVAC maintenance practices that you should be following to prepare for any coming compliance changes:  

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(Back by popular demand—Get it now before impending compliance deadlines!)

Topics: HVAC/R, Industry Insights, Refrigerant Compliance, HVAC News Roundups, Refrigerant Management

Elizabeth Ortlieb

Written by Elizabeth Ortlieb

With an extensive background in public affairs and communications, Elizabeth serves as the Policy & Content Manager at Trakref, where she tracks HVAC/R policy trends and provides updates to multi-level stakeholders. Email the author at eortlieb@trakref.com