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Last edited 05 Nov 2020
R22 phase out
- Blast chillers.
- Process coolers.
- Air conditioning systems in offices and other commercial buildings.
- Transport refrigeration.
From January 1st 2015, EC regulation EC/1005/2009, which relates to substances that deplete the ozone layer, prohibited the use of HCFC's such as R22 and R408A in any form, even for maintenance, in order to protect the ozone layer.
New equipment using HCFC's was banned in 2001 (2004 for small air-conditioning systems), and the use of virgin HCFC's was banned in 2010, when it also became illegal to manufacture HCFC refrigerants or for suppliers to keep them in stock.
From January 1st 2015, a new restriction prevented the use of re-cycled and reclaimed HCFC. The new regulations do not prohibit continued operation of plant using existing quantities of HCFC refrigerant, but prevents invasive maintenance, replacement or topping up.
More modern refrigeration and air-conditioning systems should already comply with regulations. However, older systems may use HCFC's, and as most refrigeration systems leak to a certain extent, 'doing nothing' will cease to be an option. Many of the better maintained systems will accept 'drop-in' non-ODS refrigerants, such as EC F Gas Regulations compliant HFC's (hydrofluorocarbons, including 417A, 422A, 422D, 424A, 427A, 428A and 434A). However these substitutes generally lead to a drop in efficiency and so the system may need to be supplemented with additional compressor and/or heat exchanger capacity.
Badly maintained equipment or old HCFC systems may not lend themselves to conversion and could need complete replacement with a compliant HFC, hydrocarbon, ammonia or carbon dioxide system. Such an upgrade on a 10,000 sq ft office building could cost the tenant or landlord the equivalent of 30% of the annual rent as well as causing considerable disruption. It is likely therefore that landlords and tenants will be looking at the small print of their leases to establish where liability lies for such costs. In some cases the courts may have to determine who pays.
NB On 15 October 2016 it was announced that 170 countries in Kigali, Rwanda, had agreed that all HFC’s should be phased out through an amendment to the Montreal Protocol. See HFC phase out for more information.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Air conditioning inspection.
- BREEAM Impact of refrigerants.
- Deleterious materials.
- Greenhouse gases.
- HFC phase out.
- Ozone depleting substances.
- Montreal Protocol.
- Refrigerant selection.
 External references
- DEFRA Information sheet RAC 8 – R22 Phase-out (Aug 2011).
- GB Regulations enforcing EC Regulation 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
- UK Government: EC F Gas Regulations.
- Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases. May 2006
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