December at-a-glance…environment

Massachusetts releases HFC prohibition plan effective Dec. 25

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has announced its plan, 310 CMR 7.00: Air Pollution Control, which will restrict the use of certain hydrofluorocarbons, effective December 25. The plan prohibits the use of certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in refrigeration equipment, air conditioning chillers, aerosol propellants, and foams that are manufactured or used in Massachusetts. The prohibitions begin phasing in January 1, 2021 to January 1, 2024 based on the end-use sector.

NAFEM comments on Rhode Island proposed HFC reductions

Rhode Island joins the growing list of states proceeding with hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) reductions in the absence of a national standard. The state’s Department of Environmental Management’s (DEM) proposed regulations are substantially consistent with those being developed by Massachusetts and Maine, as well as other states that are members of the U.S. Climate Alliance. Compliance dates are June 1, 2021 through June 1, 2023, depending on the type of refrigerant. Regulations for all foams become effective June 1, 2021.

Ontario considers environmental efficiency requirements for five new products

The Environmental Registry of Ontario proposes to harmonize energy-efficiency standards with those of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN). The proposal would introduce minimum efficiency requirements for five new products to reduce energy and water use, and greenhouse gas emissions, in the province. Products include commercial oil-fired furnaces, air compressors and pre-rinse spray valves, as well as portable air conditioners and uninterruptible power supplies. Comments are due Dec. 31.

Report details environmental, consumer spending benefits of new appliance standards

New appliance standards are a key strategy to help reduce U.S. CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2050, according to a newly released report from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Doing so also would save the average American household $230 annually on utility bills by 2035. The greatest potential CO2 reductions come from new standards for residential water heaters, commercial and industrial fans, residential furnaces and light bulbs.

More California cities restrict natural gas hookups

Oakland and San Jose have joined the growing list of California cities restricting natural gas hookups. San Jose will prohibit gas hookups in all types of construction, except hospitals beginning in June 2021. Establishments with food preparation equipment will receive a limited hardship exemption through Dec. 31, 2022. Oakland restricts new natural gas hookups as part of its ordinance requiring all-electric construction in new buildings. Berkeley, which had the nation’s first ban on natural gas hookups, is being sued by the California Restaurant Association over its plans. Forty cities in California have now banned natural gas hookups as the state moves to all-electric buildings to help meet its climate goals.