This article is a part of my Refrigerant Roundup series which appears monthly.
Much has been happening in the refrigerant world, from the first regulation under the AIM Act moving forward to several new rules and guidance documents impacting HVACR.
With everything starting to open back up and moving into post-pandemic social dynamics, you may have missed some of these important refrigerant updates from the past couple of months.
Let’s get started. #RefrigerantRoundup
Refrigerant in the News
- First regulation under AIM Act underway with public comment period —
As predicted, the AIM Act is indeed heating up as the cooling season and air-conditioning calls tick up.
In fact, you may have seen my update which mentioned that on April 30, 2021, the EPA signed a proposed rulemaking to address the production and consumption of HFCs; this would be the first regulation under the AIM Act.
Shortly thereafter, on Thurs., June 3rd, the U.S. EPA held a virtual public hearing to discuss the first proposed regulation. The hearing was lengthy, nearly three hours of diverse stakeholder input; I listened intently.
What now? Stakeholders have 45 days from the proposed rulemaking’s publication date in the Federal Register (FR) to submit a public comment.
- New EPA SNAP Rule Published —
On May 6, 2021, the EPA published a new SNAP rule which lists 9 substitutes as acceptable in certain refrigeration and air conditioning end uses.
Specifically, R-448A, R-449A, and R-449B have been listed as acceptable, subject to use conditions, for use in retail food refrigeration, medium-temperature stand-alone units for new equipment.
Additionally, R-452B, R-454A, R-454B, R-454C, and R-457A have been listed as acceptable, subject to use conditions, for use in residential and light commercial (AC) and heat pumps for new equipment.
R-32 has been listed as acceptable, subject to use conditions, for use in residential and light commercial AC and heat pumps—equipment other than self-contained room air conditioners.
This is because R-32 was previously listed as acceptable, subject to use conditions, in self-contained room air-conditioning units, in a previous SNAP Rule about six years ago.
- UL’s New Verified Healthy Buildings Verification —
UL has created a new Verified Healthy Buildings verification that enables building owners to quickly convey the safety of their indoor air spaces to occupants. Even small adjustments to HVAC settings or replacing outdated vents can help meet the standard.
- ASHRAE Updates COVID-19 Guidance —
Finally, ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force updated its guidance in regards to COVID-19 by stating that airborne transmission is “significant.” You may recall that before this it was “sufficiently likely.”
As such, ventilation and filtration controls in buildings is of utmost importance, and changes to HVACR operations can be key to prevention.
Well, that concludes the Refrigerant Roundup for April / May 2021. As always, thanks for reading.
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