Refrigerants: What’s New in 2017?

The United States has passed a number of regulations regarding refrigerants since the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987. Many of these regulations have been implemented in phases, and we are now on the brink of a wave of new restrictions. It can be hard to keep up with the shifting bans and limitations, so here we have laid out a little bit of the history behind refrigerants and the coming timeline of future regulations and restrictions.

Refrigerants: What’s New in 2017?
Refrigerants: What’s New in 2017?

The roll back on CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons) officially began in 1989 when the Montreal Protocol went into effect with its series of staggered limits on their use and production. During the 1970s scientists observed a marked drop in the Earth’s ozone content around its polar regions. The ozone is a crucial layer of Earth’s atmosphere that shields the planet’s surface from harmful Ultraviolet radiation. This thinning or depletion of the ozone layer was determined by scientists to be caused by CFCs present in the upper atmosphere. To combat the widening hole in the ozone layer an international treaty was drafted that became known as the Montreal Protocol. This treaty bans the production of not only CFCs, but also Halons and other compounds with ozone depleting properties. The Montreal Protocol is widely considered to be one of the most successful and rapidly implemented international environmental endeavors.

The Montreal Protocol has been expanded and updated since its creation to phase out more refrigerants that have a high Global Warming Potential (GWP), also known as high ozone depleting properties. HCFCs (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons) are part of one of the Montreal Protocol’s subsequent long-term goals. According to the full text of the Montreal Protocol the United States must incrementally decrease HCFC consumption and production, with the end goal of a complete elimination of HCFCs in 2030. The prior benchmarked goals included a reduction to 90% below baseline levels in 2015 and a 99.5% reduction by 2020. The Clean Air Act bolstered and organized this phase out with a “worst first” mantra. The highest ozone depleting HCFCs were targeted and systemically eliminated. Some of these HCFCs that the Clean Air Act targeted first were HCFC-22, HCFC-141b, and HCFC-142b.

The latest step in the refrigerant phase-out was announced by the EPA in September 2016. This new step will ban a host of high GWP refrigerants including R-404a, R-134a, R-407c, and R-410a potentially by January 1, 2021. This applies to the use of R-404a and R-507a in new retail food refrigeration by January 1st, 2021 and in new cold storage warehouses by January 1st, 2023.

Regarding R-134a, the ban requires that it no longer be used for new centrifugal and positive displacement chillers by January 1, 2024. Some other refrigerants that this ruling affects are R-407c and R-410a, in addition to some interim “drop-in” blends. R-134a is also banned in new domestic refrigerators and freezers.

In addition to banning these refrigerants the new ruling from the EPA further intensifies leak rate rules to reduce the amount of refrigerants that escape equipment into the atmosphere. This new rule lowers the leak rate limits that trigger essential reparations of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing 50lbs or more of refrigerant. The leak rate limits were lowered from35% to 30% for industrial process refrigeration, 35% to 20% for commercial refrigeration equipment and from 15% to 10% for comfort cooling equipment. The new rule also requires quarterly and/or annual leak inspections or continuous monitoring for devices that have exceeded their threshold leak rates. An additional leak requirement involves plant owners and operators. If their systems contain equal to or more than 50lbs of refrigerant and leak 125% or more of their full chargein one calendar year, then the owners and operators in question must submit reports to the EPA.

These new rules make it more important than ever for you to make regular maintenance and inspection on your building equipment routine. By doing so you can avoid violations and also ensure that you are not releasing harmful refrigerants that impact our planet’s atmospheric systems.

This Blog article has been posted by Maximum Energy Professionals, a mechanical engineering firm located in Torrance, CA. For information on Sustainability Services including: ENERGY STAR utility benchmarking and award certification, California AB802 Compliance, ASHRAE energy audits, LEED, and energy conservation/green Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing systems and equipment design, please give us a call at 310-782-1410 or visit our website at www.mep-llc.com

What is California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen)?

GREEN BUILDING DESIGN

Maximum Energy Professionals “MEP” assists our customers with adoption of California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) in their design approach. We offer specialized energy conservation consulting services, from feasibility studies through design and preparation of construction documents and construction phase services to assist our customers in all phases of green building design. As part of Title XXIV (24) and CALGreen, commissioning is now required in the state of California for all new non-residential projects over 10,000 square feet. Maximum Energy Professionals offers commissioning service that helps customers comply with these regulations.

Green Building

Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to a structure and using process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages.[1] The Green Building practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.

California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen)

The California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen) is Part 11 of twelve parts of the official compilation and publication of the adoption, amendment and repeal of building regulations to the California Code of Regulations, Title XXIV (24), also referred to as the California Building Standards Code. The purpose of this code is to improve public health, safety and general welfare by enhancing the design and construction of buildings through the use of building concepts with a reduced negative impact or an increased positive environmental impact and encouraging sustainable construction practices in the following categories:

1. Planning and design
2. Energy efficiency
3. Water efficiency and conservation
4. Material conservation and resource efficiency
5. Environmental quality

Title XXIV (24) Compliance

The California Energy Code, part 6 of the California Building Standards Code which is Title XXIV (24) of the California Code of Regulations, also titled The Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential and Nonresidential Buildings, was created by the California Building Standards Commission in 1978 in response to a legislative mandate to reduce California’s energy consumption. The standards are updated periodically by the California Energy Commission to allow consideration and possible incorporation of new energy efficiency technologies and methods.

Energy Services Agreements by Marketable Engineered Projects

Maximum Energy Professionals “MEP” assists our commercial, educational, healthcare and municipal customers with energy service agreement services. An Energy Services Agreement (ESA) is a contract that permits energy efficiency to be packaged as a service that building owners pay for through savings, and that generally requires no (or minimal) upfront cost to the owner. It is an alternative to using equity or a traditional loan to retrofit a building.

mep-logo

It serves as a written agreement, between a housing authority and an energy services company, outlining the work to be done under a performance contract. For housing authorities, it must contain the following elements: savings guarantee, scope of work, savings calculation methodology and financing terms.

In addition to providing a way to retrofit a building without putting up capital, ESAs can solve specific problems that often make investing in energy efficiency difficult for various types of real estate owners.

Overview of Marketable Engineered Projects

OUR VISION

We aim to amaze with expert energy efficiency and engineering design services that enhance the lives of our customers and impact our planet in a positive way.

OUR SERVICES

Maximum Energy Professionals “MEP” is a full service mechanical-electrical-plumbing (M-E-P) and energy conservation design firm, and is a certified California and Local Small Business Enterprise. We are experts in LEED Existing Building certification, commissioning, ENERGY STAR benchmarking and certification, ASHRAE Level I & II energy audits, tenant improvement design, central plant HVAC equipment replacement projects, construction defect design and remediation, M-E-P expert witness testimony and M-E-P and Fire Life Safety property condition building assessments. We’re not new to the table. MEP is the successor to GRT and Associates, Inc., which provided sustainability and design services since 1990. We have been providing expert, high quality guidance for our commercial customers since 1990 and are leading experts in energy conservation and sustainability, with particular expertise in energy audits of all types.
OUR MISSION

Our mission is to provide customized energy efficiency and engineering design services to building owners and managers that allow them to save money on their utilities, while at the same time reducing their carbon footprint and becoming better stewards of the environment.

We apply core values of rapid response to all inquiries, personal integrity in our business relationships, impeccable customer service, and excellence of our work product at all times.

Mechanical and Plumbing Systems Design By MEP

mep

Maximum Energy Professionals “MEP” has assisted our commercial, educational, healthcare and municipal customers with expert HVAC, mechanical, and plumbing design services since 1990.

Our HVAC, mechanical, and plumbing design projects include:

  • Central plant upgrades: chillers, boilers, and cooling tower systems
  • Tenant Improvements: Interior HVAC modifications and new construction
  • Building automation controls and energy management systems
  • Alternative HVAC supply
  • Commercial tenant “after-hours” and “over-standard” cost evaluations
  • California OSHPD healthcare HVAC projects
  • California DSA educational facilities HVAC projects

Visit our website today! http://www.mep-llc.com/engineering-mechanical-design.html

Energy Conservation Building Design by Marketable Engineered Projects

Maximum Energy ProfessionalsMEP” is a full service mechanical-electrical-plumbing (M-E-P) and energy conservation design firm, and is a certified California and Local Small Business Enterprise. We are experts in LEED Existing Building certification, commissioning, ENERGY STAR benchmarking and certification, ASHRAE Level I & II energy audits, tenant improvement design, central plant HVAC equipment replacement projects, construction defect design and remediation, M-E-P expert witness testimony and M-E-P and Fire Life Safety property condition building assessments. We’re not new to the table.

mep-logo

MEP is the successor to GRT and Associates, Inc., which provided sustainability and design services since 1990. We have been providing expert, high quality guidance for our commercial customers since 1990 and are leading experts in energy conservation and sustainability, with particular expertise in energy audits of all types.