The Institute of Refrigeration is warning users of refrigeration equipment that the combined environmental and financial impact of refrigerant leakage could be very significant. Commercial refrigerators and air conditioning systems most commonly contain halocarbon refrigerants, most of which have a high global warming potential and some have significant ozone depleting impact too.
The IOR is working with the Carbon Trust to encourage equipment owners to make sure that the equipment they are responsible for does not leak refrigerant. Earlier this year they launched a website dedicated to helping equipment owners and the companies they use for service and maintenance to prevent leakage. The effective management of refrigerant is not necessarily costly or complicated. A refrigeration or air conditioning system that is well specified, designed, installed and maintained should not suffer any significant leakage during its lifetime. What’s more, if the refrigerant is contained within a system its environmental impact is negligible.
And yet some larger systems leak quite significant amounts on an annual basis, and equipment owners are paying substantial amounts of money in call out charges, replacement refrigerant, increased energy use and decreased reliability – and that could mean loss of stock. The IOR wants to change the way people think about refrigerant – instead of accounting for it as a consumable, refrigerant should be valued as an asset that needs protecting.
The Refrigerant Emissions and Leakage Zero website at www.realzero.org.uk has lots of free technical guidance, tools and training material. The areas of most interest to readers of Grocery
Trader will be:
•Leakage matters – the equipment owner’s responsibilities. This outlines some of the new legal responsibilities you have as an “operator” of equipment containing gases covered by the European Fluorinated Gases Regulation and Hazardous Waste Regulations.
•A carbon cost calculator to measure the extra costs of your equipment
•A monitoring spreadsheet to help you meet your new legal obligation to record refrigerant use and leak check activity.
•Training guide 1 – Environmental, cost and legal aspects of refrigerant leakage.
•Training guide 2 Reducing leakage through appropriate maintenance and service.
The Institute of Refrigeration is promoting good refrigerant management as a priority for everyone who designs, builds, uses or maintains refrigeration or airconditioning equipment, not just to meet legal requirements but because it makes sound business sense.
For more details see www.realzero.org.uk or contact the Institute at 0208 647 7033