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End users unaware of F-gas duties

BELGIUM: Refrigeration and air conditioning end users in Belgium are largely unaware of their responsibilities under the F-gas regulations or of environmentally friendly alternatives.

A survey of Belgian refrigeration contractors found that 82% claimed that their customers were not aware of their F-gas responsibilities, such as periodic leak checks, record keeping, and notification obligation when the maximum relative leakage loss is exceeded, etc.

In addition, two thirds of the companies surveyed by the UBF-ACA revealed that only 1 to 10% of their customers asked for alternative solutions. About 20% of respondents said that this was the case with 11 to 20% of their customers.

While the use of “natural” refrigerants is generally increasing, 63% of respondents said they were not yet using them, although 21% said they were now making more use of them.

The UBF-ACA is the only professional association that groups all installers, manufacturers, importers and distributors of refrigeration and air handling equipment in Belgium. The survey was carried out in September 2018, attracting responses from 103 companies.

The survey also revealed that the use of traditional HFC refrigerants was falling and that the scarcity problems experienced earlier last year under the European F-gas phase down were also diminishing.

Slightly more than half (55%) indicated that they no longer have problems to obtain the HFCs via the “regular” market. Much of this was due to the fact that the use of high GWP refrigerants, such as R404A and R507A, had fallen sharply. Half of the installers said that their use of these gases is greatly reduced compared to the past.

However, the use of fluorinated refrigerants with a lower GWP (such as R134A, among others) is mostly the same, according to 45% of respondents. 36% even claim that their use has increased.

A particular bugbear was unregistered companies, with 68% aware of competition from non-f-gas-certified companies. 87% of installers also demanded more stringent action to curb the sale of equipment to the do-it-yourself market.

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