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Ben Bartle-Ross looks at the benefits from a switch to R32

Room and Packaged R32 air conditioning systems have been available for a while but the addition of R32 VRF air conditioning now completes the line-up, alongside R32 Hybrid VRF.

This means R32 systems are now available across the entire range of DX air conditioning systems and the industry is really starting to embrace the new refrigerant, with sales of RAC and PAC systems likely to quickly overtake R410A systems before too long.

Now you can get R32 on the bigger VRF systems as well, in addition to the unique Hybrid VRF solution that is also available in R32, this means that almost any building or situation can now benefit from using R32.

And this is just as well because as an industry we really do need to get behind this move to lower GWP (Global Warming Potential) refrigerants not only because of the fact that they reduce any potential impact to global warming by two-thirds, but also because the use of this new refrigerant brings further benefits.

With a GWP two-thirds less than R410A, it’s obvious why the industry is embracing R32

Ben Bartle Ross Ben Bartle-Ross Technical Trainer

The spirit of F-Gas

My colleague Phil Ord has created a short video which clearly demonstrates the significant advantage the R32 offers over R410A, simply because the GWP is reduced to 675 from 2,088.

This reduces the global warming impact by over 66% should any refrigerant be released through pin hole leakage, by accident, or in the unlikely event that parts such as compressors fail.

The move to R32 is therefore a serious step on the way to much, much lower and even zero GWP refrigerants and the industry is right to quickly embrace it.

Much more than lower GWP

For me though, there are other reasons to welcome the move to R32 as well though. 

The refrigerant is a much better vehicle for the movement of energy than R410A and is more efficient at transferring energy than R410A. 

This means that we as a manufacturer, and you as an installer can benefit from longer pipe runs on the systems – increasing even further the flexibility that refrigerant-based air conditioning has always been so good at.

Due to this increased efficiency, less volume of refrigerant is also needed within the overall system to achieve the same or even greater levels of efficiency.

That means less overall gas bottles needed on site and the cost of that gas is about two-thirds less than R410A.

R410A has been the refrigerant of choice in UK air conditioning for several years now and has served us well, offering stability of cost, supply and performance.

But with a GWP (global warming potential) of 2,088, it's no longer a viable, long-term option. That's why we are seeing a shift to R32 systems as businesses discover the energy-efficiency and increased performance, in addition to its GWP of 675.

Easier on site management

For corporate customers and estate managers, it also allows for one refrigerant across a site, easing ongoing maintenance regimes.

Companies can continue to provide comfortable places for us all to work, shop and relax in, whilst complying with the latest F-Gas legislation and using only one refrigerant across a site, an estate, or an entire network.

Air conditioning is an essential part of modern commercial life, offering us huge CO2 savings over fossil fuel heating and energy-efficient cooling for occupants which counters the heat produced by IT and office equipment.

But the refrigerants used in air conditioning are changing with new R32 systems now available to offer much lower global warming potential (GWP).

R32 is quickly becoming a big part of the future in air conditioning and as an installer, specifier or business, it's important that you know what this means for you.

Ben Bartle-Ross delivers training courses on both air conditioning and heat pumps.