The fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that, on the basis of existing scientific data, developed countries would need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% to 95% below 1990 levels by 2050.
To assist the European Commission in achieving this a “roadmap” was created highlighting sectorial contributions from six areas including Fluorinated Greenhouse gases. To further allow for reductions in the use of the aforementioned gases, major changes were suggested to the existing regulations. After a series of meetings and lobbying by all interested parties, the additions and amendments were ratified. This process resulted in EC Regulation 517/2014 repealing 842/2006. This regulation will come into force on the 01/01/2015. The “New” F Gas Regulations will make major changes to the availability and use of HFC’s over the next 15 years.
The main areas of change within the F-Gas regulations will affect everyone from manufacturers and end users to the technician on the street. The requirement for major reduction in CO2 emissions across Europe will result in the use of high GWP Refrigerants being “phased down” and in certain applications prohibited. This “phasing down” in the availability of the Hydro fluorocarbon refrigerants over the next fifteen years will cause manufacturers to change the refrigerant their equipment uses across a wide range of applications from Domestic and Commercial Refrigeration through to Heat Pump and Supermarket Refrigeration.
The “Phase Down” will also affect the availability of particularly high GWP refrigerants, such as R404A and R422D, for service and maintenance work on existing systems. As everyone knows when demand outstrips supply the cost of the refrigerant will increase and the cost effectiveness of any repair is less attractive. Given the problems end users have already endured during the prohibition of HCFC Refrigerants, these further changes will cause further headaches and affect the working relationship of end users and contractors.
The contractor will have to change the way they perform a variety of activities for their customers, including frequency and size of equipment required to be leak checked. The requirement for leak checking is no longer determined by the mass of refrigerant but by the CO2 equivalent based upon the GWP and system charged mass. Until manufacturers change the way their equipment is labeled, and existing equipment is re-labeled (by 2017 at the latest), the requirement can be difficult to interpret.
Contrary to the quote from ACRIB, our experience is that it is not to the “relief of 30,000 engineers that they do not have to be reassessed as their current F-Gas qualification will remain valid”. Indeed the majority of the engineers that have undertaken re-assessment have expressed their relief for the update in their knowledge of the regulations, allowing them to communicate the changes to their customers, enabling them to portray an efficient, professional image. Indeed, with the best will in the world, it would be difficult for every technician or contracting company to assimilate all the information within the regulations and pass that information along to all persons in their employ. Attendance on an F-Gas reassessment course will give attendees all the latest information on the revised F-Gas Regulations along with comprehensive hand-outs to refer to in the future.
To assist all affected organisations to fully understand and implement these changes, Business Edge, working in conjunction with CITB, REFCOM, Worcester Bosch, Bitzer UK and the European Association for Brazing and Soldering, are presenting a series of free, half day seminars to highlight the impact of the regulations. The first seminar will be on the 1st of October in Wakefield and the second seminar is on October the 7th in Milton Keynes.
Places are going fast – Book your seat now.