ARLINGTON, Va. — Building owners in the United States last year replaced or converted 2,594 comfort cooling chillers that use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), leaving an estimated 38,800 of the units that still rely on CFC refrigerants, according to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI).

A survey of chiller manufacturers released annually by ARI showed the impact of the weak U.S. economy in 2002 as the pace slowed from previous years. ARI said there were 379 conversions and 2,215 chillers replaced with non-CFC equipment using alternative refrigerants.

There were approximately 80,000 large-tonnage liquid chillers using CFCs in the early 1990s when phaseout of the units began. According to the survey, in 2003 manufacturers expect approximately 2,549 replacements and 334 chiller conversions bringing the year-end total to 44,072, which is 55 percent of the original 80,000.

Employment declines and economic weakness in the U.S. and abroad affected new building construction and CFC chiller replacements, says ARI. The association reported that factory shipments of large-tonnage liquid chillers for use in the U.S. and abroad dropped to 5,793 in 2002 from the 7,171 units shipped in 2001.

With so many CFC units still in service, the industry faces a substantial task over the coming years of completing the CFC phaseout, ARI noted.

The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute is a trade association representing manufacturers of more than 90 percent of North American-produced central air conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment. For more information, visit

Publication date: 04/07/2003