NORTHBROOK, Ill. - UL announced three initiatives to help the appliance and HVACR industries achieve compliance of proposed new refrigerants with the U.S. Clean Air Act’s criteria for ozone-friendly products. Anticipating introduction of flammable refrigerants in appliances and HVACR products and leveraging its role as a safety standards developer, UL is facilitating a comprehensive review by stakeholders of the readiness of the U.S. safety system for the use of these alternative refrigerants. An important component of meeting this need, said UL, is to understand the safety risks associated with the installation, use, servicing, and disposal of products using flammable refrigerants, including hydrocarbons (HCs).

First, UL hosted a “Flammable Refrigerant Stakeholder Forum” with representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), fire and mechanical code committees, industry associations, installation and product safety standards committees, and other stakeholders to discuss the impact of significant market penetration of flammable refrigerants in non-industrial applications, and to identify gaps in current codes and safety standards.

“We are pleased that UL took the lead in organizing this much needed forum,” said Cindy Newberg, EPA Branch Chief. “It fostered dialogue among a broad range of stakeholders as the use of hydrocarbon refrigerants increases in North America.”

Then, UL released a white paper addressing the ongoing efforts to prepare for widespread use of HCs in HVACR equipment and appliances. UL is using the white paper, Revisiting Flammable Refrigerants, to raise awareness among stakeholders to help them prepare for the widespread use of flammable refrigerants in consumer and commercial appliances including, in the future, air conditioning. The paper highlights the global market’s extensive HC experience and discusses the need for education and training for installers, service personnel, operators of storage and retail facilities, fire fighters, and inspection professionals in the U.S.

Finally, UL hosted a “Joint Task Group” standards meeting on the use of flammable refrigerants at the 2011 International Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) in Las Vegas. UL Standards Technical Panel (STP) members joined with key stakeholders to develop recommendations for HVACR product safety standards.

To download a copy of Revisiting Flammable Refrigerants, visit www.uluniversity.com/thoughtleadership. To learn more about related testing and certification services, visit UL.com/hvacr.

Publication date: 02/07/2011