The EC Ozone Regulation (EC/1005/2009) provides the legislative framework for EU Member States to meet their obligations under the Montreal Protocol, the international agreement drawn up to halt damage to the ozone layer. The most harmful ozone-depleting substances (e.g. CFCs like R-12) were banned in the 1990s. New equipment using less harmful “transitional” HCFC refrigerants like R-22 was banned in 2001 (or 2004 for small air conditioning systems). From the end of 2009 the use of virgin HCFCs to service and maintain existing refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) equipment is banned in all EC Member States.

From 1st January 2010 it is illegal to use virgin HCFCs to service RAC equipment. Only reclaimed and recycled HCFCs may be used. Supplies of recycled or reclaimed HCFCs might be very limited and very expensive. Note, this ban applies even if HCFC refrigerant was purchased before the ban date. It is illegal to use stockpiles of virgin HCFCs after the end of 2009, any stockpiled HCFCs should be returned to fluid suppliers for appropriate disposal.

From 1st January 2015 it will be illegal to use any HCFCs to service RAC equipment— so recycled or reclaimed HCFC may no longer be used.

HCFC refrigerants like R-22 will have to shift to hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants like R-410A for air conditioning and R-404A for refrigeration to prevent further ozone-depletion. Emerson Climate Technologies is helping customers go through this phase by switching to these new and more environmentally friendly refrigerants right now.

Global warming is a result of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide produced by the combustion of fossil fuels in electrical generation and transportation. Air conditioning and refrigeration systems consume energy which if utilized inefficiently, will result in higher carbon dioxide production.

HFCs themselves are powerful greenhouse gases, and whilst leakage minimization is essential, it is recognized that the dominant global warming impact over the lifetime of a system in the majority of cases arises from energy consumption.

To regulate the emissions of HFCs (and other fluorine containing substances) EU Regulation 842/2006 (the EU F gas Regulation), came into force in July 2007. The main legal obligations for refrigeration and air conditioning organizations are qualification requirements for people working in the industry sector as well as other requirements relating to:

  • leakage checking of equipment
  • recovery of F-gas from equipment during maintenance, servicing and at end of life
  • reporting of annual F-gas import, export and production figures
  • labelling of equipment containing F gas (and inclusion of information in instruction manuals)