The John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Miss., encompasses more than 13,500 acres and is an integral part of the United States space program.

The HVACR equipment ranges from water coolers to centrifugal chillers, comfort cooling to computer room air conditioning, and low and medium temperature freezers and coolers.

The complex has been around since 1961 and uses refrigerants including R-11, -12, -22, -123, -134a, -404A, -407C, and –410A.

Randy Stonebraker is manager of HVAC operations at Stennis, working for Jacobs Technology. He is aware of the changing refrigerant market through his day-to-day experiences, holding a Universal Refrigerant Certification through Ferris State University, and being a Certified Refrigeration Compliance Manager (CRCM) received through the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP).

“As a large site, we have a considerable amount of refrigerant to deal with,” he said in response to questions fromThe NEWS. “That combined with being a federal site, we want to be environmentally responsible. With all the phase outs and considering the total amount of refrigerant used, it is in our best interest to reclaim what we have for future use.”

Like many, the decision to commit to reclamation meant choosing which reclaimer to deal with. “My primary prerequisite for a reclaimer was a company that is trustworthy,” Stonebraker said.

“I take seriously the EPA rules and regulations regarding refrigerants and wanted to be sure I procured a company that I could count on to do the same. As the refrigerant compliance manager for Stennis, I am solely responsible for what happens to our refrigerant.”

He opted for Airgas, which has a reclaim program that offers a variety of refrigerant return options including buying, exchanging, banking or disposing of used refrigerant gas. Stonebraker said, “Once you start to work with them you see just how easy they make the whole process and the confidence is reassuring.”

Stonebraker described how he handles reclaim: “I try to condense the shipment as much as possible for all the obvious reasons and will ship out in the largest containers available which are 1,000 pound cylinders. I have 30-pound cylinders up to 1,000-pound cylinders, so I transfer refrigerant as needed into the appropriate cylinders. Since I utilize Airgas for hydrostatic testing of cylinders, I can also ship cylinders requiring recertification with refrigerant. Our shipping department contacts Airgas and they send the required labeling. The whole process is very easy and clean.”

To get the refrigerant offsite, “We ship our refrigerant directly to Airgas by common carrier and they will return the same way. For the most part, refrigerant we ship is recoverable, in which case it can be reclaimed. If it is contaminated, it must be destroyed,” Stonebraker said. “EPA approved and certified companies are the only ones authorized to do so.”

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Publication date:03/08/2010