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Economy Affects CFC Chiller Phaseout

April 11, 2003
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ARLINGTON, Va. — According to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), building owners in the United States last year replaced or converted 2,594 comfort cooling chillers that use CFCs, leaving an estimated 38,000 of the units that still rely on CFCs, which were banned from production in the United States due to concerns about depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer.

A survey of chiller manufacturers released annually by ARI stated that there were 379 chiller conversions and 2,215 chillers replaced with non-CFC equipment using alternative refrigerants last year. According to ARI, this pace was slower than that in recent years, revealing the impact of the weak U.S. economy in 2002.

Employment declines and economic weaknesses in the United States and abroad affected new building construction and CFC replacements, according to ARI. The ARI report also says that factory shipments of large-tonnage liquid chillers for use in the United States and abroad dropped to 5,793 in 2002 from 7,171 in 2001.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “A new, energy-efficient chiller can easily pay for itself in electricity savings, improved reliability, and lower maintenance costs in five years.”

According to an EPA brochure titled “Building Owners Save Money, Save the Earth,” “Building owners with obsolete CFC equipment compete for dwindling supplies of reclaimed refrigerants and parts — paying higher prices and risking refrigerant shortages. Savings from electricity costs alone pay back the investment at high rates of return — even at low energy prices.”

A copy of the EPA brochure is available at www.ari.org/consumer/articles.

Publication date: 04/14/2003

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