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Standards and Codes

Updating existing standards and codes, which currently prevent market uptake of HFC-free alternatives, is critical to successful implementation of a global phase down of HFCs.

Standards are technical sets of rules and requirements, primarily developed by industry, that companies must meet in order to sell products that are considered safely designed. Unfortunately, many standards-setting organizations have not kept pace with the changes in technology that allow for HFC-free refrigerants to be safely used in many kinds of refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged by the President’s Climate Action Plan to allow climate-friendly, HFC-free refrigerants and products to enter the U.S. market. However, existing out-of-date standards have remained a prohibiting factor by preventing market acceptance of products that use HFC-free refrigerants that the EPA has listed as acceptable. The majority of these products that are currently blocked due to out-of-date standards in the U.S. are already in use throughout Europe and other countries around the world. The result is that the current standards in the U.S. are acting as a false barriers to market penetration of HFC-free products and are effectively preventing the replacement of HFC-based products.

Our goal is to accelerate the process of publishing and adoption of new, smart standards by the key standards-setting organizations: the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC), Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and International Organization on Standardization (ISO). This work is essential to ensure that sufficient HFC-free alternatives will be available on the market in order to enable a quick and ambitious HFC phase-down under the Montreal Protocol.

Key goals of this work include:

  • Convene technical experts to further the discussion of changing or updating standards through workshops and new working groups within standards organizations to examine data and research on new safety mechanisms and other relevant topics on HFC-free refrigerants.

  • Replace HFC-134a with climate-friendly hydrocarbon refrigerants in the approximately 9 million new household refrigerators sold in the U.S. every year, eliminating nearly 3 million metric tons CO2e emissions annually resulting from the disposal of this equipment at the end of life.

  • Replace HFC-410A with hydrocarbons and CO2 in hundreds of millions of small and medium-sized household air conditioners and heat pumps sold around the world each year, mitigating hundreds of millions of CO2 equivalent annually.

  • Create standards for the use of natural refrigerants in commercial and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning applications based upon modern technologies, safety equipment, and training.

  • Ensure existing standards allowing the use of HFC-free refrigerants are maintained and/or improved, where needed.

R-290 Compressor

Objectives

  • Broaden stakeholder engagement in standards development
  • Accelerate adoption of updated standards, particularly in the U.S.
  • Remove market barriers posed by obsolete standards

Recent Blog Posts

A 21st Century Standard for American Fridges
04/28/2017
A new safety standard brings U.S. consumers one step closer to being able to purchase climate friendly household refrigerators.
Ratifying the Kigali HFC Amendment: A No-brainer for the U.S.
10/31/2016
EIA takes a look at why the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol should be ratified by the United States

Recent Reports

EIA Comments at California Air Resources Board
03/24/2017
Official EIA comments issued at the March 2017 California Air Resources Board meetings in Riverside, CA.
EIA Briefing to the UNFCCC COP22
11/07/2016
In October 2016, Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment on HFCs, which marks an historic achievement as the Paris Agreement comes into force in November.

Recent Press Releases

California Approves Strategy to Reduce Super Pollutants
03/24/2017
The California Air Resources Board agreed to a strategy to phase down potent greenhouse gases, including HFCs.
Historic Agreement Reached on Global Deal to Cut HFCs, Super Pollutant Greenhouse Gases
10/14/2016
Parties to the Montreal Protocol are expected to adopt an historic global agreement mandating controls on hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) consumption and production...

Recent Videos

India Takes Critical Step to Protect Global Climate from HFC-23
10/13/2016
India has announced its chemical industry, with immediate effect, must collect and destroy emissions of its most potent greenhouse gas, HFC-23. EIA first exposed the HFC-23 crisis ten years ago and has carried out investigations into HFC-23 venting in China and India.
Supermarkets, HFCs, and Global Warming
07/06/2015
Some of the largest supermarkets in the United States use man made gases known as HFCs in stores' refrigeration and air conditioning systems...
What are the HFC-free Technologies?
Widespread adoption of HFC-free technologies is cost-effective, energy efficient, and climate-friendly. Read EIA’s report Putting the Freeze on HFCs for hundreds of examples of HFC-free technologies available and in use today.
Nearing a Global HFC Phase-down
The October 2016 Montreal Protocol meeting in Kigali, Rwanda is expected to yield a global agreement to phase down HFCs. Read and share EIA's briefing on this great opportunity and obligation to avert climate catastrophe.
Cornell's Lake Source Cooling
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