The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized broad changes to its refrigerant management regulations under 40 CFR 82. Those owning, operating, maintaining, servicing, repairing, or disposing of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment will all be impacted by these revisions.
The most significant change extends the regulations for ozone-depleting refrigerants to non-ozone- depleting substitutes through an amendment to the definition of “refrigerant.” The revised definition of refrigerant includes any Class I or Class II ozone-depleting substances (ODS) refrigerants or any substitute for such refrigerants.
This revised definition of refrigerant was primarily meant to address emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are widely used refrigerants that were introduced as substitutes for ODS refrigerants, but they are also potent greenhouse gases with global warming potentials much greater than carbon dioxide. The reduction of HFC emissions are part of the effort to reduce carbon pollution in the United States, as outlined in President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan.