COLUMBUS, Ohio, — Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) is calling for a renewed effort by industry partners to develop a consensus industry policy for states pursuing the phase-down of HFC refrigerants, while continuing to express concern about a proposal to allow a mere six-month sell-through period for HFC-using units manufactured prior to the proposed 2023 deadline.

California recently passed the California Cooling Act, directing the California Air Resources Board to develop regulations to reduce the use of HFCs in air-conditioning and refrigeration products. Several industry members recently announced their support for certain proposed measures — negotiated by a few manufacturers without input from the HVACR industry at large — for meeting the state's HFC emissions reduction target; however, HARDI has abstained from signing on until consensus can be reached on a more realistic sell-through period.

Specifically, the proposal includes language of a manufacturing prohibition with a subsequent restrictive sell-through period that would negatively affect HARDI members at the peak of the selling season. Previous experiences with sell-through periods have shown the concept adds complexity to the distribution process. Simply using a manufacturing prohibition is much more effective in ensuring that compliant units are sold to consumers. 

"The proposed six-month sell-through period ending in the middle of summer is untenable for our members, suppliers, and customers,” said HARDI Vice President of Government Affairs Palmer Schoening. "We favor a plan that does not burden the entire distribution channel at the height of selling season and a process that is inclusive of all stakeholders. AHRI has been leading this consensus-focused version of this plan, and we ask the industry to follow their lead on this issue."

Recent announcements by New York, Connecticut, and Maryland to pursue similar HFC reductions increases the need for industry-wide consensus on this important issue, as those states are likely to follow California’s lead. These additional states add to the urgency to work together to develop a single industry-wide plan that can be adopted, with agreement from environmental advocates and consumers, to prevent multiple sets of state regulations that will complicate the distribution of equipment.

"While we would prefer a national approach to phasing down the production and use of HFCs, such as that proposed in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, we recognize California’s interest in tackling this HFC emissions reduction issue,” said HARDI CEO Talbot Gee. “HARDI fully supports industry collaboration to ensure all of our suppliers’ concerns have been considered, and to maximize the time our respective policy teams spend working together for the industry."

HARDI reiterates support for all ongoing negotiations to be facilitated exclusively through AHRI, and encourages members of the HVACR industry to join in this effort. 

"A small collective of distributors can't go it alone on negotiating best policy here, either," Gee added. "Achieving broad consensus allows the industry to speak together as one voice. Had this been done in this case, we wouldn’t have the issues preventing our support of the current agreement. We must do better going forward if the HVACR industry wants to really make a difference for the environment, our industry, and our customers.”

Publication date: 9/21/2018

Want more HVAC industry news and information? Join The NEWS on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn today!