ARLINGTON, Va. — Building owners who use ozone-depleting CFC refrigerants in chillers for comfort cooling in buildings replaced or converted only 4,231 units in 1998, according to a survey of chiller manufacturers released by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI).

At the current pace, it would take until 2010 to eliminate use of CFC chillers in the United States, despite a ban on the production of CFCs that went into effect on December 31, 1995. Approximately 52,060 chillers, 65% of the estimated 80,000 CFC chillers in service in the early 1990s, required CFCs to remain in service at the start of 1999.

Despite the slower-than-expected phaseout, production in 1998 of 7,558 non-CFC chillers for use in the U.S. and abroad, is almost double the rate of CFC chillers manufactured annually a decade earlier.

In recent years, chemical producers of CFCs sold virtually all of their virgin CFC-11 and -12, the primary refrigerants used in such chillers. Owners of these chillers must now rely on distributor stockpiles, their own CFC refrigerants in storage, or previously used CFC refrigerants recovered from units taken out of service and reclaimed to ARI Standard 700 specifications for re-use.

With so many CFC units still in service, manufacturers will have steady demand for replacement chillers for many years longer than expected.