Welcome to the monthly roundup of the most interesting industry news you may have missed from your friendly folks here at Trakref!
But first, take a look:
1. CARB RMP 2019 Annual Reports are Due Now
The deadline for submitting your 2019 Annual Reports to the California Air Resources Board (ARB)’s Refrigerant Management Program (RMP) is March 1. This summarizes the 2018 calendar year for facilities with large and medium refrigeration systems, refrigerant distributors and refrigerant reclaimers.
You do not need to file if your facility only operates refrigeration systems using between 50 and 200 pounds of refrigerant; however, you should still log it and ensure that facility contact information and refrigeration system information is up-to-date. This documents their refrigeration system leak inspections, leak repairs and other system servicing.
Here is what is due March 1:
- ALL facilities with 200 pounds of refrigerant or more must submit the 2018 calendar year Annual Report
- Payment of the Annual Implementation Fee
- Refrigerant distributors, wholesalers and reclaimers are also required to submit an Annual Report of 2018 statewide aggregated annual refrigerant sales, transactions and disposal
You can use R3, the ARB’s online Refrigerant Registration and Reporting tool, to submit everything and can be accessed here. Update your records before filing the Annual Report!
2. Green Refrigerants Grow in Texas in World’s Largest Factory
Everything really is bigger in Texas! Chemours, a Delaware-based chemical company that produces low global warming potential refrigerants, invested $300 million in the state in 2016 to respond to the rising global demand for cleaner refrigerants. Its Corpus Cristi location will be the largest refrigerant production plant in the U.S. and the world, tripling the company's capability to produce coolants. Chemours wants to maintain its position as an environmentally conscious leader in the field—something that's good for both the planet and a company’s balance sheet.
This is a good sign for jobs and the chemical industry!
3. Ratifying a Reagan-era Policy Could Create More Jobs and Solidify our American Dominance
The Kigali Amendment, an update to the landmark climate Montreal Protocol policy, should be ratified by the U.S. because American companies are at the forefront in developing the next-generation technologies that will be used in these products in coming years. The market for HVAC/R products will double globally over the next 10 years as populations and demand grow. The United States is a leader in the HVAC/R industry and this will help ensure we maintain that position for decades to come.
4. How 200,000 lbs. of R22 Can Cost You $23 million
Trident, a Seattle-based seafood processing company that operates on- and offshore facilities throughout Alaska, reached a settlement with the EPA and Department of Justice after it was found guilty of violating the Clean Air Act. From 2009 to 2016, they failed to repair leaking appliances and had nearly 300 instances of no compliance/service records. For thousands of days, Trident was leaking over 200,000 lbs. of R22. They were also found to have used uncertified technicians working on their equipment. As part of the settlement, they had to pay a $2.5 million fine and $23 million to retrofit or retire their freon-based appliances.
This was three years in the making and the government is now watching every aspect of their business. Moral of the story? You will get caught, it is only a matter of time. This is what you risk.
5. The South Moves North
Many American cities will feel and look a lot different in the next 60 years according to estimates in a new study in Nature Communications. On average, the closest city for a 2080 climate comparison was 528 miles away, to the south. Everyone always hears the 1.5-3 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures, but seeing a graphic like the one above resonates more. D.C.? More like Arkansas. New York City? More like Maryland. Austin? More like Mexico.
The difference a degree of emissions makes is immense; however, if we don't reign them in and continue at our current rate, we're even worse off.
6. Smart Systems Detect Problems Faster, Improve Comfort and Savings
We are only beginning to understand the possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI) in the HVAC/R industry and how it can make technicians jobs easier and save owners money. The benefits of AI include:
- reducing downtime by predicting when a problem/maintenance issue may occur
- detecting problems faster and pinpoint what actions need to be taken to help minimize disruptions to operations and operational expenses
- trend analyses reports for equipment performance, energy usage and in indoor air quality
- using these analyses to recommended actions for a technician to take
- for technicians - no longer guessing what operating parameters should be used after lengthy trial and error
AI systems are already out in the market with a growing adoption rate. Systems that sense whether or not there are people in a room and adjust accordingly (saves owners money). Systems that know you're in a room and blow conditioned air directly at you (improves comfort). Now think of it on a larger-scale: a grocery store can model their chillers to optimize maintenance costs. The future of HVAC/R is exciting!
7. Rocky Mountain Institute Partners with Atlanta Airport to Offset Super Bowl Travel Carbon Emissions
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the city of Atlanta partnered with Colorado-based environmental nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute at the beginning of the month to offset air travel emissions from Super Bowl LIII. This was the first Super Bowl in which carbon emissions from the fans’ air travel was offset. 18,000 metric tons of carbon offsets came from projects that make good use of waste, reduce greenhouse gases and support the local community. That's 1,624 air miles for all 71,000 seats in the stadium!
DID YOU KNOW: 98% of the carbon emissions from an airline come from the burning of jet fuel during flight
8. Bipartisan Climate Solution Bill Making Waves, Giving Money Back to the People
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is the most comprehensive climate legislation in Congress right now and the only climate bill with support from both Democrats and Republicans. Through a tactic called carbon pricing, it will lower the United States' emissions by 40% in 12 years and 90% in 30 years. Basically the more CO2 you put out the more you'll pay to the people. This will make clean energy (solar, wind, hydro) cheaper and more attractive than dirty energy (coal, fossil fuels, oil), drive down emissions and slow climate change.
Here are some specifics for you fact freaks:
- the fee starts at $15 per metric ton of CO2 and increases by $10 annually, giving businesses time to adjust and make smarter investments
- the monies that the fee collects will be pooled, split equally and given back directly to us people in a monthly rebate
- goods imported from countries that do not have an equivalent carbon price will pay a border carbon adjustment (this protects U.S. manufacturers and jobs!)
- the EPA will not be able to regulate emissions federally unless emissions targets are met after 10 years (this doesn't apply to auto mileage standards, water quality, etc. only industrial and commercial)
9. Your Best Solution Got Even Better
Learn more about NASRC here
We're not only the no. 1 solution to HVAC/R challenges, we're also helping shape a sustainable, smarter future by advocating the use of natural refrigerants. That's right, Trakref has become a member of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council, an action-oriented nonprofit that advances natural refrigerants in order to shape a more sustainable future for refrigeration.
WHY DO WE CARE: because we too want to create positive environmental change in supermarket refrigeration
Some of their goals include:
- working with organizations like the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to incentivize the use of natural refrigerant equipment in food retail
- establish standards/best practices for the use of natural refrigerants in the grocery sector
- increase the number of service contractors and technicians that are well-versed in natural refrigerant technology, equipment installation and maintenance through trainings and outreach
- provide policy input and help streamline approval processes for natural refrigerant equipment and technology
10. Lone Star State Grocer Alone with Zero Leaks in 6 years
We started with Texas, now we end with them. San Antonio-based grocery chain H-E-B opened an 83,000 ft.2 store in Austin that's regarded as the first U.S. supermarket to use all propane-based refrigeration display cases (R290). The R290 pilot program started in 2013 and, since its inception, have had ZERO leaks in six years! That's unheard of for a store this size as the typical leak rate is 25%. H-E-B operates 400 stores in Texas and Mexico and aggressively wanted to go after sustainability. That's why they invested the money to test natural refrigerant in warmer temperatures These systems can cost up to 30% more than a standard CO2 system but do have reduced installation costs.
“In my mind it is a huge success that we can put in commercial refrigeration system in a supermarket and not have it leak. H-E-B actually predicted a zero leak rate going into the project.”
- Charlie Wernette, Principal Engineer at H-E-B