If you are in the air conditioning industry, you will know all about the move to R32. It’s been a hot topic for some time and one article we posted here on the subject in April 2017 is still our most read piece, now having been viewed over 39,000 times.
What you may not be fully aware of though, is just how much of a difference R32 will make for our industry as we seek to minimise any potential damage to the environment.
The change in refrigerants is part of the F-Gas Regulations, which seek to reduce the impact of refrigerants on the environment and specifically, lower the global warming potential of the refrigerants used within direct expansion air conditioning systems.
That is why we are seeing the reduction in the use of R410A systems, which have a global warming potential (GWP) of 2,088, to R32 based air conditioning, which reduces the GWP to 675, less than a third of R410A. GWP is measured against a base of 1 for CO2, and we will see the introduction of lower GWP refrigerants over the next decade.
A significant reduction in emissions associated with refrigerants is something that is straightforward to achieve
The move to R32 refrigerant is driven by the latest set of F-Gas regulations and the phase down of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants for Europe and the United Kingdom.
The F-Gas regulations are a set of rules to help control emissions from fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-Gases) commonly used in refrigeration, air conditioning, aerosols, foams and electrical switchgear. The aim of the Regulations is limit the damage to the atmosphere if refrigerants are leaked.
For contractors and users of equipment containing refrigerants, there are specific rules for repairing leaks, reporting and logging the use of refrigerants and recovering refrigerants correctly at the end of equipment life.
Manufacturers are also looking at alternative technologies and developing equipment using lower GWP refrigerants.