What 2018 Has in Store for Your Building and HVAC Equipment — Including New Refrigerant Regulations

December 27, 2017 / by Elizabeth Ortlieb

Elizabeth Ortlieb

Are you curious about what 2018 has in store for your building and HVAC equipment portfolio? 

Then, check out this blog on EPA 608 2018, building energy benchmarking requirements, and more!

1. EPA 608 2018

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First, the new EPA refrigerant management regulations, known as the EPA Section 608 Update, go into effect January 1, 2018.

If you need a refresher on this update, don't worry. In fact, we've blogged on this topic several times over the past year, including

Since EPA 608 2018 is just around the corner, we've created a FREE #EPA6082018 checklist of the requirements you need to know now to prepare you and your workforce.

Get My Free EPA 608 2018 Checklist

(Hurry before it's too late, or, worse your workforce behaves in non-compliant ways!)

 

2. New EPA Refrigerant Rule—SNAP 22?

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This month, the EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program issued a new direct final rule: "Protection of Stratospheric Ozone: Revision to References for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Sector To Incorporate Latest Edition of Certain Industry, Consensus-Based Standards," or more commonly referred to as SNAP Rule 22. 

This rule modifies "the use conditions required for the use of three flammable refrigerants, isobutane (R-600a), propane (R-290), and R-441A, in new household refrigerators, freezers, and combination refrigerators and freezers under the [SNAP] program."

More specifically, 

"In this direct final rule, EPA is replacing the reference to the 2000 UL Standard 250 in use condition '2' with the updated 2017 UL Standard 60335– 2–24 'Safety Requirements for Household and Similar Electrical Appliances, Part 2: Particular Requirements for Refrigerating Appliances, Ice-Cream Appliances and Ice-Makers' (2nd Edition, April 28, 2017).

You can check out the proposed rule in full here.

The key takeaway is that this rule would increase the charge size limit in these household appliances from 57 grams to 150 grams. The 150 is consistent with UL Standard 60335–2–24 (2nd edition, April 28, 2017). 

The rule explains, "EPA previously required a charge size limit of 57 grams (2.01 ounces) for each separate refrigerant circuit in a refrigerator or freezer in use condition '3.' In this action, EPA is removing use condition '3.' To comply with UL Standard 60335–2–24, the maximum charge size for each separate refrigerant circuit in a refrigerator or freezer would need to be 150 grams (5.29 ounces), consistent with UL Standard 60335–2– 24."

Because it is a direct final rule, it is "effective on March 12, 2018 without further notice, unless EPA receives adverse comment by January 25, 2018." (Emphasis added.)

The document goes on to state, "If EPA receives adverse comment, [it] will publish a timely withdrawal in the Federal Register informing the public that the rule will not take effect."

We will be closely following the updates on this rule. Of course, we will know more certainty about this unfolding situation later in the month, once the January 25th deadline comes to a close. 

3. Building Energy Benchmarking Tracking and Reporting

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If you aren't already aware, energy benchmarking is the latest green building trend.

In fact, now 20+ cities around the United States have implemented mandatory building-energy benchmarking programs.

Cities with programs in place include,

City Reporting Deadline
Atlanta June 1
Boston May 15
Chicago June 1
New York City May 1
Pittsburgh June 1
Seattle April 1

And these are just a few of the cities. 

You're probably wondering—What do these building energy benchmarking requirements mean for you? 

Well, first you need to identify how many buildings in your portfolio fall under one or more of these programs. Whether you meet or surpass the tracking and reporting thresholds depends on the amount of square feet each of your buildings have. 

After you determine your eligibility, you need to be aware of the impending reporting deadlines, especially since most of these programs have public transparency requirements. 

Most of all, we will keep you updated throughout 2018 energy benchmarking reporting year to give you the latest developments. 


Well, that concludes our look at what 2018 has in store for your building and HVAC equipment.

Thank you for joining us, and be sure to check back in next week for more.

In the meantime, feel free to get a FREE checklist of the top EPA 608 2018 requirements you need to know now: 

Get My Free EPA 608 2018 Checklist

(Get it now before it's too late!)

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If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out our other articles on this topic and more:

5 Things to Know About the Update to EPA Section 608 - New EPA Refrigerant Regulations

Trakref Year in Review: The Top 5 HVAC and Refrigerant Management Updates of 2017

Topics: HVAC News Roundups

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