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Norway reports widespread breaches of F-gas regulations

NORWAY: The Norwegian Environment Agency has exposed widespread non-compliance with the European F-gas regulations amongst heat pump and refrigerant vendors. 

Of 20 heat pump equipment distributors inspected, the Environment Agency found that more than half were breaching the F-gas regulations. Of the 11 companies found to be selling to consumers, 10 lacked verification of installation having been carried out by a certified company/individual. 

The audit revealed that more than four out of ten companies selling HFC refrigerant did not verify that the buyer was a certified business, as required by the regulations. And a “good number” also did not keep a record of who they sold the gas to.

Percentage distribution of number of enterprises with deviations for different control topics. A total of 28 businesses were audited, but not all topics are relevant in all businesses

“The regulations are clear that retailers of equipment, such as heat pumps/cooling systems, have a duty to ensure that anyone who buys a heat pump in-store or online uses a certified installer. That means the heat pump must be sold with installation or that the buyer documents that the installation is made by certified personnel,” said Bjørn Bjørnstad, the Norwegian Environment Agency’s inspection and environmental data department director.

The audit was carried out last autumn on 28 companies, mainly either refrigerant or heat pump distributors or installation businesses.

The Norwegian Environment Agency checked internal controls; control of sales of HFC refrigerant to certified operations; the register of HFC sales; control of certified installation when selling heat pump to end user; and verification of valid certification by installation companies

Following the inspections, the companies are said to have established procedures to ensure compliance with the legislation. Aware of the impending inspections, some are said to have previously initiated work to correct their bad practices.

The Norwegian Environment Agency says it will shortly follow up with new supervision of sellers of HFC refrigerants and equipment dealers. The control will also include the sale of HFCs to car repair shops.

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