California targets high-GWP refrigerants in stationary systems

By team, Sep 19, 2008, 00:00 3 minute reading

California has proposed an extensive set of leak detection, repair, reporting, and retrofitting rules for large air conditioning and refrigeration systems using high global warming F-gases. Facilities using the natural refrigerant CO2 would not be affected by the regulation presented to the public this week.

The draft regulation, discussed in three public workshops hosted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), would target large facilities using CFCs, HCFCs, or HFCs in their air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Warehouses, food processing, supermarkets, office buildings, hospitals or hotels would thus be required to register with CARB before January 2010 to comply with a set of legal requirements aimed at reducing high global warming refrigerants emissions. Through leak test and repair, best practices for installation and servicing, sale restrictions, safe disposal, and reporting by facilities, refrigerant reclaimers, distributors, and wholesalers, CARB would ensure that the use of F-gases is monitored and reduced to the highest possible extent.

Meanwhile, facilities using natural refrigerants, such as CO2 or ammonia, would not need to register and would not be subject to any restriction set out in CARB’s latest proposal. The use of sustainable AC and refrigeration systems would then not only pay off in terms of human resources and time savings, but would also avoid all costs for facilities with a charge greater or equal to 50 pounds of a high-GWP refrigerant, as well as wholesalers, distributors, and reclaimers of such refrigerants.

CARB’s proposal

Concretely, the draft regulation proposes:

Leak detection & monitoring requirements: An automatic leak detection is required for facilities with large refrigeration or air- conditioning systems with a refrigerant charge of 2000 pounds or greater. A quarterly inspection is required for facilities with a refrigerant charge between 200 and 2000 pounds. An annual inspection is required for facilities with refrigeration or air-conditioning systems with refrigerant charge between 50 and 200 pounds. This makes sure that all facility sizes are included, ranging from large warehouses, supermarkets and hotels, to medium- and small sized office buildings and food retail establishments.

Leak repair & System retirement: Within 14 days after detection, all leaks of F-gases have to be repaired, and another verification test is required one month after. After three unsuccessful repair attempts, the complete systems must be retired.

Reporting and recordkeeping: Annual reporting and recordkeeping for 5 years is required by all facilities with refrigerant charge over 50 pounds. Similarly, wholesalers, distributors, and reclaimers are required to report on their operations relating to refrigerants annually and keep records for 5 years.

Refrigerant use, sale and disposal: High-GWP refrigerant sales are restricted to certified technicians. The refrigerant must be sold in a refillable cylinder or a non-refillable cylinder with a deposit reclamation required for sale to a new owner.

Analysis proves: emissions cuts increase productivity

On 17 September, CARB published an economic analysis report according to which the state’s overall proposed plan of implementing the emission cuts will increase California’s productivity in 2020 by $27 billion. In addition, the report estimated that cutting emissions will mean 100,000 more jobs in 12 years than today and an increase in per capita income by $200 a year.


The tracking, reporting, recovery, and replacement of high-GWP refrigerants in stationary and mobile sources is the subject of several “early action measures” under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). The state-wide landmark law targets a cut in carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, in total around 170 MMT of CO2 equivalents.
CARB will release its final staff report in December 2008. After several hearings early next year, final measures will be adopted throughout 2009.


By team (@r744)

Sep 19, 2008, 00:00

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