NAFEM helps drive EPA listing of refrigerants for medium-temperature use

Five years ago, NAFEM and others submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requesting their approval of refrigerants R-448 and R-449A and B for medium-temperature, stand-alone units. This month, the Agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) listing these refrigerants for use “when other alternatives are not technical feasible.” The proposed Rule 23 of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) also addresses refrigerants for the foam-blowing and fire-suppression sectors.

According to Jason Paquette, vice president of engineering, Structural Concepts, Muskegon, Mich., “We have been working on this for some time because the larger refrigeration systems required by EPA put our in-store refrigerated cases out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, while we can comply with the narrow usage guidelines, the detailed documentation required could be extremely time consuming.”

The NOPR also requires manufacturers to estimate the projected time before they can switch to other substitutes. “EPA actually controls this timeframe,” Paquette said. “We could switch to other medium pressure gases that have an even lower global warming potential (GWP), but EPA needs to approve their use.”

Here is a fact sheet on the NOPR. Comments are due by July 27. NAFEM is working with members to determine how the association should respond. To weigh in with your company’s thoughts, contact Charlie Souhrada.