The AHRI, ASHRAE and U.S. government are all funding research into flammable refrigerants.

The work is part of a years-long effort to phase out the use of refrigerants with high global warming potential in HVAC construction. The U.S. Energy Department is contributing $3 million; the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers will give $1.2 million; and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, $1 million.

The results of the studies will potentially be incorporated into ASHRAE’s construction and engineering standards, the society said.

"ASHRAE has a strong history and commitment to refrigerants, having written our first standard on the topic in 1919," ASHRAE President said David Underwood. "We have continued our work in this area since that time, publishing the industry's leading standards on refrigerants as well as conducting hundreds of research projects on the topic. As such, ASHRAE is fully committed to this project. In fact, the funds we are using for our share represent the largest transfer from our research reserve fund in our 122-year history."

The International Code Council said any changes in ASHRAE standards that result from the research will quickly be incorporated into its guidelines.

Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of AHRI, which represents most major manufacturers of HVAC equipment, said his group is looking forward to the studies’ findings.

"AHRI is extremely grateful to ASHRAE, DOE, and the ICC for their commitment to accelerating the introduction of suitable alternatives to high-GWP refrigerants," said the organization’s president and CEO, Stephen Yurek. “Our member companies, some of which produce refrigerants and others of which manufacture the highest quality air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment in the world, can use the results of this vital research to continue in those missions, but in an even more environmentally friendly way."