May at-a-glance … environment

NAFEM to share industry preferences, concerns with EPA during HFC discussions

Based on member feedback during a mid-May conference call to discuss the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) pending efforts to phase down ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), NAFEM is continuing to gather important industry-related information to advocate with the agency for a reasonable final rule that considers the needs of members.

In late December, Congress gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs consistent with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This gave EPA 270 days from the Dec. 27 date of enactment to issue a final rule.

The new legislation came out of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2019 (AIM) that received widespread support from NAFEM, the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Natural Resources Defense Council and others.

NAFEM continues to collaborate with AHRI, which asked EPA to establish transition dates for new refrigeration equipment, along with maximum global warming potential (GWP) limits, as follows:

Table 1

Product Category (New Equipment 1)AR4 GWP LimitTransition Date
Standalone/Self-contained Refrigeration SystemsSNAP Rules 20/21 ProhibitionsJanuary 1, 2022
Remote Refrigeration Systems (> 50 lbs refrigerant charge)1500January 1, 2022
Remote Refrigeration Systems (<= 50 lbs refrigerant charge)2200January 1, 2022
Industrial and Processing Refrigeration (w/o chillers)1500January 1, 2022
ACIM (> 50 lbs refrigerant charge)2200January 1, 2022
Transport Refrigeration2200January 1, 2023
Exceptions: ACIM < 50lbs charge, Medical, Scientific and Research Applications

NAFEM also intends to conduct three product-category specific member surveys to identify concerns unique to the commercial foodservice equipment industry that EPA should consider in its final rule. NAFEM is further leveraging its relationships with the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy to secure support for its position on these recommendations.

Once a final EPA rule covering the phase down of HFCs takes effect, state laws will be preempted for five years, with another five-year preemption possible. The new regulations will not impact the use of HFCs in existing refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, but they could limit aftermarket supplies of HFCs for servicing existing equipment. NAFEM members should assess the potential effect of these regulations on their businesses and plan accordingly.