The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration institute (AHRI) has joined more than 35 other industry and environmental organizations in petitioning the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to introduce national standards to transition to climate-friendly refrigerants.
AHRI is seeking uniform national standards for stationary air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act.
If introduced these standards will result in an additional half billion tonnes of CO2 reduction over and above what will be achieved once the AIM Act is implemented.
The federal standards sought by the AHRI petition align with similar standards already in place in nine states.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) submitted similar petitions under the AIM Act.
For new residential and light commercial central air conditioning equipment, the AHRI petition seeks a regulation requiring that equipment manufacturers use refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) of 750 or less in equipment made after 1 January, 2025 (with the exception of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) equipment which would have a deadline of 1 January, 2026).
These transition dates would align the country with the dates adopted in December 2020 by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and nine additional Climate Alliance states.
For commercial refrigeration and chiller equipment, the petition seeks a 1 January, 2022 start date with the exception of transport refrigeration which would commence in 2023.
“The transition dates allow sufficient time for careful planning and preparation, both to avoid excessive costs that can unduly burden consumers and to ensure all safety and other associated standards can be met,” the petition said.
“For example, contractors and technicians must receive appropriate training, state and local building codes must be updated and changed, and supply chains and distribution networks must be modified.”
AHRI, the US Department of Energy, CARB, and other stakeholders have invested more than $7 million in research into alternative refrigerants in preparation for this transition.