Fridge firms call for HFC phase down

5594490_sUSA/CANADA: The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers says it is seeking to voluntarily phase down the use of HFC refrigerants in household refrigerators and freezers after 2024.

Recognising concerns over the global warming potential of HFCs, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) says the industry is already well on the way to transitioning away from the use of HFCs in foam insulation by 2020.

AHAM recognises that a transition to the emerging flammable alternatives will require a cooperative effort from manufacturers, refrigerant suppliers and the safety standards bodies in the US and Canada, as well as the relevant federal safety, environmental and energy agencies in both countries.

“Regardless of the next-generation refrigerant chosen by appliance manufacturers, products must still adhere to stringent energy efficiency requirements, be compatible with product components, be safe for consumers and manufacturing workers and be functional and cost effective,” said AHAM president and CEO Joe McGuire.

“That is why the industry has projected that with everyone’s full cooperation, 2024 is the earliest possible transition date. The timetable is longer for room air conditioning products given the added work needed to address viable alternatives and building codes for multi-housing units,” McGuire added.

While the primary alternative to HFCs in refrigerators and freezers, isobutane, is used widely around the world and has a very low global warming potential, AHAM says its use in the US and Canada will require manufacturers to make technically challenging adjustments to products and factories to ensure that refrigerators continue to meet more stringent safety standards than those in other parts of the world.

Current safety standards in the US and Canada place stricter limits on the amount of flammable refrigerants that can be used in a refrigerator. AHAM argues that the technical changes required to keep these products functioning properly under the constraints of those standards could add significant costs to the bulk of refrigerators on the market.

AHAM is calling on the EPA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission as well as counterpart agencies in Canada to support its voluntary efforts through further evaluation of alternatives to HFCs and protective, justified updates to safety standards to facilitate the use of HFC alternatives.

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One Response to “Fridge firms call for HFC phase down”
  1. Janos Mate says:

    There are over 800 million hydrocarbon refrigerators in the world today. 100 million domestic refrigerators and freezers are produced in the world each year. Currently hydrocarbon technology represents between 35% and 40% of the total global production. It is projected that at least 75 to 80% of global new refrigerator production will use hydrocarbon refrigerants by 2020.

    Almost 100% of all refrigerators sold in Europe and China for the domestic market contain hydrocarbon refrigerants. But not so in the United States and in Canada where obsolete regulatory obstacles and industry opposition have obstructed their market penetration. While European, Chinese, Latin American and Japanese consumers have been able to purchase climate friendly refrigerators for almost two decades, North American consumers are denied the same opportunity. All the major North American brands sell climate friendly refrigerators in other parts of the world but not in Canada or the United States.

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