PostHeaderIcon A Carbon Footprint is Impacted by Fugitive Refrigerant Gas Emissions


A Carbon Footprint is Impacted by Fugitive Refrigerant Gas Emissions

The United States and a host of other foreign countries are focusing on fugitive emission tracking for certain industries. The goal is to identify the amount of substances that are emitted into the atmosphere when a refrigerant gas leak occurs. This will give government officials at the EPA a better understanding of the amount of greenhouse gases harming the environment each year and contributing to global warming due to the ineffective management of refrigerant gases.

Fugitive emission takes place when an unexpected leak of a hazardous substance occurs in a system and the discharge is not contained in a vent, stack, or duct. This may be caused by a component failure, poor servicing, or a breakdown in some industrial process. When a system containing refrigerant leaks, these high global warming potential substances cause damage to the atmosphere. Certain refrigerant gases are not broken down in the atmosphere and end up entering the stratosphere and destroying the protective ozone layer over time.

Across the U.S. economy, refrigerant gases or fugitive emissions equal over 300K tons of carbon dioxide each year. Other countries have similar or worse outputs. Many environmental regulations, such as The Montreal and Kyoto Protocols, exist to reduce the escape of harmful substances, like refrigerants, into the atmosphere over time. There are additional goals to reduce the potential for global warming in the near future and to improve air quality in the long term by reducing the emissions refrigerant gases.

A select few refrigerant gases have multiple detrimental effects on the environment. Not only are they ozone depleting substances but they are also chemicals with a high global warming potential (GWP) which places them into the category of greenhouse gases which lead to global climate change. For many reasons, it is important to effectively monitor, track, and report refrigerant gas usage.

The EPA has finalized its rules pertaining to any fugitive emission occurrence, whether through evaporation or a leak. The regulations apply to several industries, including existing and newly constructed facilities with systems using refrigerant gas in their workplace heating and cooling systems. Other industries are industrial chemical manufacturing, electric services, pulp and paper mills, and petroleum refinancing.

Tracking fugitive refrigerant gases is required by facilities owning or operating HVAC-R systems or by manufacturers who produce them. The EPA has identified a number of dangerous compounds, among them chloroflurocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, methyl bromide, halons, methyl chloroform, and carbon tetrachloride.

A particular concern for fugitive emission problems is with refrigerant gas, because it contains chloroflurocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons, two primary contributors to the weakening of the ozone layer and the increase in greenhouse gas volumes. Furthermore, refrigerant gas is used across many industries in refrigeration and cooling units, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and fire protection systems.

When a fugitive emission occurs, businesses are required to track the refrigerant leak rates and report annul refrigerant usage it to the EPA. One of the primary emissions scopes, fugitive refrigerant gas emissions are an integral part of an organizations carbon management requirements. Of the utmost importance is the determination of the HVAC-R system that is leaking and the capturing of the service event detail related to fixing the leak. Systems containing refrigerant gases must be inspected by EPA certified technicians and all service events must be logged when refrigerants are handled.

The new fugitive emission regulations provide a more standardized approach to thresholds identified by the U.S. Clean Air Act at the direction of the EPA. These include continuous monitoring, tracking of leaks, and reporting of leak repair, and containment.

Web applications and specialized tools can increase an organization’s efficiencies related to HVAC-R system maintenance, improve accuracy of refrigerant inventories thus saving money, and turn manual processes into a centralized, automated work flow. Development firms who specialize in the area. They ensure compliance and reduce the likelihood of substantial fines.

Daniel Stouffer, Product Manager at Verisae, has more information about fugitive emissions management. Refrigerant Tracker makes it easy to monitor, manage, and report refrigerant gas usage across multiple locations. Learn more at: http://www.Refrigerant-Tracker.com


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