Washington, District of Columbia — The American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act has approved the phasing down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The AIM Act adds that by approving this ruling, there will be emission reductions of up to 876 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent through 2050.
The AIM Act will address HFCs in three main ways. The first is by phasing down its production and consumption. Next, it will promote certain regulations for the purposes of maximizing reclamation and minimizing releases of HFCs from equipment and ensuring the safety of technicians and consumers. Lastly, it will facilitate the transition to next-generation technologies through sector-based restrictions.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2025, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) technology transition rule will prohibit the manufacturing and importing of products that contain high-global warming potential HFCs, followed by a prohibition on the sale, distribution, and export of those products three years after the manufacture and import restrictions take effect.
This ruling will also prohibit the installation of new refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump systems that use high-GWP HFCs. However, components needed to repair legacy refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump equipment may continue to be manufactured, imported, sold, distributed, or exported.
The latest restrictions start Jan. 1, 2028.
While this ruling is specific to the HFC phasedown process in the U.S., Canada is embarking on its own HFC phasedown process. As per HRAI, Canada is on track to meet its HFC phasedown targets by 2036, this is primarily being accomplished through reductions in the automotive and foam sectors, not the HVAC/R sector.
Under the current CSA B52 mechanical refrigeration code, technicians cannot install or retrofit existing equipment with A2L-charged equipment. This includes residential and commercial applications as well as new home construction.
As a result, HRAI and AHRI formed a joint working group composed of industry experts to develop and implement a strategy to permit the installation of A2L-charged equipment in all applications and jurisdictions before Jan. 1, 2025.
HRAI adds that the 13th Edition of the CSA B52 mechanical refrigeration code will allow the installation of A2L-charged equipment. This is expected to be released in December 2023 or January 2024.