At its December 5, 2019, meeting, the Board of Directors of the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) voted unanimously to support safety standards ASHRAE 15 (2019) and UL60335-2-40 3rd edition and their adoption into building codes as written.

Adoption of these standards into the latest version of national building codes will enable the use of new low-GWP refrigerants in air conditioners, chillers, and other air conditioning and refrigeration applications. The coming phase down of HFC refrigerants in the U.S. and around the world necessitates the introduction of refrigerants with lower global warming potential, some of which are classified as having low flammability.

OEMs and refrigerant manufacturers alike have been advocating for the use of these A2L refrigerants, which are mildly flammable, for stationary air conditioning and refrigeration equipment in the U.S. Indeed, Carrier has identified R-454B, sold as Opteon™ XL41 by Chemours, as its primary lower GWP refrigerant to replace R-410A in ducted residential and light commercial packaged products. R-454B is an A2L blend that is composed of R-32 and R-1234yf, and Carrier expects to offer the new refrigerant in its products by 2023.

Daikin also recently announced its commitment to developing ducted and ductless residential, light-commercial, and applied products that utilize an A2L, although it is choosing R-32, which is a pure refrigerant. The company said its choice of R-32 for the North American region is consistent with the wide global acceptance of the refrigerant, noting that more than 84 million R-32 residential units have been safely installed across 70 countries.

Arkema is also a strong supporter of R-32, or Forane® 32, for the air conditioning market, noting that it offers a unique balance of cost, performance, low GWP, and availability. With a GWP of 675, the company says that R-32 is an environmentally friendly alternative to R-410A, which has a GWP of 2088.

The Board’s vote of approval builds on the request of the AHRI Unitary Sector Leadership Council, comprised of equipment manufacturers as well as refrigerant producers, which had voted unanimously in November to endorse the UL60335-2-40 3rd edition.

“AHRI’s more than 320 member companies are united in this effort to bring about a necessary change in the refrigerants that keep Americans and those around the world safe, productive, and comfortable,” said Stephen Yurek, AHRI President and CEO. “We are proud of the work we’ve done and the partnerships we’ve formed and cultivated to bring this about, and we look forward to seeing this through for the benefit of the global citizenry”.

These actions are the latest in a nearly decade-long initiative by AHRI to support the global phase down of HFC refrigerants and to develop and bring to market new, more environmentally friendly replacements. In that time, AHRI and partners such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and ASHRAE, have spent more than $7 million to research suitable alternative refrigerants.

In addition, AHRI has funded and staffed the Safe Refrigerant Transition Task Force (SRTTF) to examine adjacent issues for the HVACR supply chain such as handling, transportation, training, end-of-life handling of low-GWP refrigerants. AHRI welcomes additional participation in the Task Force, information about which can be found here

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