HFCs Phase-Out: What are the implications for UK real estate firms?

By Paul Sutcliffe, Director, EVORA

Almost 200 nations reached an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, last weekend to amend the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and introduce a global phase-out of hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants.

HFCs were introduced to limit damage to the ozone layer and replace refrigerants that have now been phased out – including R22. However, they have much greater levels of global warming potential (GWP).

Developed countries are required to cap and phase down HFCs starting in 2019. This international agreement is legally binding and strengthens existing commitments. The UK, for example, had already committed to phase down HFC use by 79% by 2030, starting in 2015. Timetables for developing countries are different.

What does this mean in the UK?

HFC refrigerant gases are used in air conditioning systems. Widely used HFC refrigerants for commercial air conditioning systems include R-410A, R-407C and R-134a. Phase down will largely impact on supply of new equipment, but it is expected that the phase out will be extended to include the supply of new refrigerant for servicing existing equipment.

Timescales are long term, however, EVORA recommends that real estate firms develop a plan to compile a record of landlord-controlled HFC refrigerants used across their portfolios. Firms are advised to also check with their maintenance providers that they are fully compliant with the current F Gas regulations, which require regular refrigerant leak testing and up-to-date records to be kept.


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