Air Conditioning and the F Gas Regulations in Ireland

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)   is responsible for Quantifying Ireland’s emissions of greenhouse gases in the context of our Kyoto commitments and in complying  with regulations controlling fluorinated greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances.

 The EC F-gas and ODS Regulations are European Regulations that are directly in force in all EU Member States. They came about as a result of two global environmental agreements: the Kyoto Protocol and the Montreal Protocol. The purpose of these two protocols is to reduce the impact of greenhouse gases, including fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) on climate change and ozone depleting substances (ODS) on the ozone layer, by reducing emissions of F-gases and ODS respectively.

 Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) are very powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change if emitted to the atmosphere. F-gases include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are commonly used as refrigerants.

 The EC F-gas Regulation (No. 842/2006) on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases – aims to reduce emissions of HFCs, PFCs and SF6.1 The key requirements in this Regulation applied from July 2007 and are directly binding in all Member States.

 Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) are chemicals that can damage the earth’s ozone layer if they escape into the upper atmosphere. ODS include hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are still in use as refrigerants.

 The EC ODS Regulation (No. 1005/2009) on substances that deplete the ozone layer replaces an earlier regulation (Regulation EC No. 2037/2000). The key requirement of the Regulation is the phasing-out of the use of ODS. The only ODS still widely in use are HCFC refrigerants, especially R22 and blends such as R408A. The use of virgin HCFCs in maintenance and servicing of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment is banned since the end of 2009. Recycled and reclaimed HCFCs can continue to be used until the end of 2014.

 Regulation (EC) No 2037/2000 was given further effect in Ireland by the Control of Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer Regulations 2006 (S.I. No.281 of 2006).

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