Brussels, Belgium, 28 February 2018: Four European industry associations have published a document appealing to HVAC contractors to phase out R-404A and R-507A refrigerants, said Andrea Voigt, Director General, European Partnership for Energy and Environment (EPEE), one of the advocating associations.
The other groups participating in the campaign include the European Association of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heat Pump Contractors (AREA); Association of European Component Manufacturers (ASERCOM) and EFCTC, which represents the European Fluorocarbons and Sulphur Hexafluoride Manufacturers.
Speaking on the development, Voigt said, “EPEE had undertaken a market survey, as part of our Gapometer project, during which it was observed that despite the huge increase in prices of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and its severe shortage, the action to stop using high-Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants like R-404A and R-507A has so far been too slow.”
Voight further said, “The sector where these refrigerants are mostly used and which can, therefore, make a huge contribution to achieving the phase-down steps is commercial refrigeration.”
Voight added: “At the same time, while they can make a great difference to change the situation, contractors are a tough audience to reach, as there are so many of them. That is why the four associations have come together to try and reach out to contractors across the European Union in an unprecedented effort, in their local languages.”
Highlighting the crux of the document, Voigt stressed that the key message the associations want to send out is that there is an urgency to move away from using high-GWP refrigerants and implement alternative solutions, even in new equipment. “If you want to stay in business, you have to stop installing R-404A and R-507A,” she said.
From a retrofit perspective, Voigt said that if there are high leakage rates and other problems, and if the equipment has not reached the end of its lifecycle, a retrofit is a good option. However, she added that even while conducting a retrofit procedure, contractors must use low-GWP refrigerants.
Quoting from the document, Voigt said that pure hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), CO2, hydrocarbons, ammonia, or reclaimed or recycled HFCs, etc., do not fall under the phase-down category.