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IIR gives thumbs-up to EU F-gas regulation

The International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) says that the EU’s F-gas Regulation – Europe’s equivalent of Australia’s HFC phase-down – has been a major success, and the next step must be to consider the energy efficiency of buildings and equipment.

As part of its consultation process and feedback to the EU, the IIR consulted its Science and Technology Council as well its Commission members in the various IIR member countries. Feedback was sought from refrigerant experts in all applications, including the cold chain, air conditioning, heat pumps, cryogenics, and more.

The raft of IIR experts were asked about the update of the F-gas Regulation (EU) No 517/2014.

“They all consider that the F-gas Regulation is a major success, and that we must continue to apply the quota reduction program and the refrigerant bans as previously decided, until 2030,” the IIR says. “This shouldn’t be done any slower, since it seems possible to continue the phase-down of HFCs as scheduled, nor faster, since, in addition to illegal trade issues, priority must now be given to the energy efficiency of equipment and whole systems such as buildings or vehicles. Faster phase-down would certainly lead to less energy-efficient solutions.”

The IIR says clear and stable regulations are necessary to provide businesses with confidence, and to enable intelligent investment planning.

The refrigeration sector accounts for about 20 per cent of global electricity consumption, with this share steadily increasing. Fact: Indirect CO2 emissions due to electricity consumption are twice as high as the direct impact of refrigerants.

“Actions must be taken at European level on energy consumption, considering the Total Equivalent Warming Impact (TEWI),” the IIR says. “Coordination with EU actions on energy, such as the Ecodesign directive, is essential. Priority should be given to air conditioning and heat pumps, where the implementation of energy efficiency labelling should be pursued, and a ban on inefficient equipment should be planned.”

The IIR says the use of natural refrigerants should be encouraged and facilitated through the harmonisation of national legislations, including safety rules and through harmonised implementation of the new standards on hydrocarbons and other low-GWP flammable and mildly flammable refrigerants.

“A review of the current and future regulations and their practical application in all EU member countries regarding flammable and toxic refrigerants should be carried out,” the IIR says. “A rapid implementation of new standards across Europe would help phasing down current HFCs.”

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