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Refrigerants an “eye-opener” in new Drawdown

Project Drawdown has released The Drawdown Review – Climate Solutions for a New Decade, a list of ways to address global warming. The first Drawdown list, published in 2017, brought mainstream attention to the HVAC&R industry when refrigerant management was ranked as the number one most critical step towards reducing global CO2e emissions.

The Review represents the organisation’s second publication and the first major update to its assessment of solutions that can move the world toward “Drawdown” – the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline.

Instead of ranking the solutions in a top 100 format like the 2017 publication, the Review describes the solutions that will impact broad areas such as electricity, food, agriculture and land use, industry; transportation and buildings.

This more nuanced approach still identifies “addressing refrigerants” as one of the most important initiatives, with the potential to avoid 101.3–108.3 gigatonnes of CO2e between now and 2050. This is further broken down into “Refrigerant Management” (57.7 gigatonnes) and “Alternative Refrigerants” (43.5–50.5 gigatonnes).

“Fluorinated gases have a potent greenhouse effect and are widely used as refrigerants,” says the report. “Managing leaks and disposal of these chemicals can avoid emissions in buildings and landfills.

“Fluorinated gases are not the only refrigerants available. Alternatives, such as ammonia or captured carbon dioxide, can replace these powerful greenhouse gases over time.”

Among its key insights, the report notes that some of the solutions are unexpected but on par with other solutions that often get the spotlight. Refrigerants is listed as one of the “eye-openers”.

Many of the solutions featured in The Drawdown Review are specifically related to the built environment. The report notes that “already the world has more than 230 billion square meters of building space [and] another 65 billion square meters could be added this decade”.

Within the built environment, the Review identifies many solutions connected to heating and cooling. They include smart thermostats, building automation systems, dynamic and high-performance glass, green and cool roofs, district heating, high-efficiency heat pumps, building retrofitting and net-zero buildings.

Although the figures and formats have been updated, the central message of the Review remains the same as the 2017 publication: that we already have the technology and strategies to reach drawdown, if they are seriously pursued.

“These solutions are tools of possibility in the face of a seemingly impossible challenge,” says the report. “They must not remain the domain of specialists or select groups. Widespread awareness and understanding of climate solutions is vital to kindle agency and effect change worldwide, across individual, community, organisational, regional, national, and global scales.”

For more information on Project Drawdown and to download the Review, click here.

2 Replies to “Refrigerants an “eye-opener” in new Drawdown

  1. The other most refrigerant being used at the moment is in self-contained cabinets from small to large however this is where the industry needs to get serious. We have a limit on 150grams for R600 and R290 which is ridiculous yet they all claim this is dangerous however have they ever seen C02 or Ammonia systems that require refrigerant sensors everywhere and when leaking can reduce oxygen in the plant rooms.
    As world wide manufacturing of cabinets is big business let’s get something done instead of talking about it as this will reduce a huge footprint of refrigerant.Then the commercial and industrial sections can be looked at separately as they are vastly different.

  2. Gentlemen, having been involved in the cabinet manufacturing and installation of different types of equipment over 50 years around the western world, I can assure you our industry is at the behest of the Merchandisers to make there minds up what cabinets go where and how easy it is to sell from. They are the boss as they make the money. The engineering is changing every few years , this is done at our R &D cost then presented to the buyers engineering team for their opinion etc. etc. R&D is only done by those who can afford it., most of the time with the Supermarkets help.

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