HFC Phasedown

5 Things to Know About the EPA’s Phasedown of the HFCs Used in Your Facility’s HVAC and Refrigeration Equipment

As the EPA and our HVAC industry continually work to phase out a range of refrigerants deemed hazardous to the earth’s ozone layer, trust the experts at Campbell Inc. to guide you in your search for newer, environmentally friendly refrigerants for commercial applications.

What is the HFC Phasedown?

The use and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), commonly used as refrigerants in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, has been slated by the EPA for a phasedown to 15% of their baseline levels by 2036.

HFCs are chemicals made up of hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon, and are considered to be greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are more harmful than carbon dioxide when it comes to their global warming potential. HFCs were initially developed to be replacements for ozone-depleting substances.

The EPA implemented the phasedown of HFCs under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, enacted by Congress in 2020.

Why the HFC Phasedown Matters to You

Due to increased demand for refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, HFCs are rapidly increasing in the earth’s atmosphere – especially because HFCs are the primary substitutes for ODS, which are being phased out in the United States and globally.

HFCs are extremely powerful GHGs that accelerate climate change, which threatens society with costly health and environmental impacts and therefore will continue to be phased out of HVAC and refrigeration equipment used today. The AIM Act, backed by a coalition of industry and environmental groups, provides regulatory certainty for phasing down HFCs – and fosters the use of more climate friendly and efficient alternatives that will be beneficial to consumers and the environment.

Why the EPA is Phasing Down, Phasing Out, or Delisting Refrigerants

Concerns have been raised as HFCs became increasingly used as replacements for ozone-depleting substances (ODS), and as global growth spurs demand for refrigeration and AC equipment. Refrigerants are used in many commercial HVAC applications, such as air conditioning units, chillers, refrigeration systems such as freezers and cold product display cases.

HFCs Will Have Limited Availability

The HFC phasedown schedule began in 2020 and will continue through 2036 to significantly reduce HFCs through several years of consumption and production allowance caps. Starting in 2022–2023, the first phase of limiting the production and import of HFCs began. Over the years, availability of HFCs will be increasingly limited.

Today, the EPA is evaluating refrigeration products based on factors such as their global warming potential (GWP). In addition to the phasedown of HFCs, the EPA is also phasing out or delisting many common HVAC refrigerants. Learn about the R-22 phase out and how Campbell can help you find the right solution for your facility here. Learn about replacing R410-A refrigerants with A2L refrigerants here.

Refrigerant Phasedown Timeline

Campbell can guide you through the range of primary refrigerants being phased out and their potential replacements or alternatives.

According to the EPA, based on the Montreal Protocol, the United States must incrementally decrease HCFC consumption and production, culminating in a complete HCFC phaseout in 2030. Production and import of R-123 and R-124 will end by 2020 for new equipment, but will be allowed to service existing equipment and for export until 2030.

The U.S. schedule for meeting the Montreal Protocol phaseout requirements is summarized in the timeline below. The EPA’s phaseout period allows you to replace your air-conditioning equipment that contains R-22 and HCFC-124b along a normal use schedule.

January 1, 2010
Ban on production, import and use of R-22 and HCFC-142b, except for continuing servicing needs of existing equipment.

January 1, 2015
Ban on production, import, and use of all HCFCs, except for continuing servicing needs of refrigeration equipment.

January 1, 2020
Ban on remaining production and import of R-22 (HCFC-22) and HCFC-142b. After 2020, the servicing of systems with R-22 will rely on recycled or stockpiled quantities.

January 1, 2030
Ban on remaining production and import of all HCFCs.

How to Plan for the HFC Phasedown

The HVAC and refrigeration experts at Campbell can help your company’s transition to next-generation technologies and newer, sustainable refrigerants as we all navigate the phasedown of HFCs. We’ll help you make the changeover to newer, environmentally friendly refrigerants for commercial AC units, chillers, and industrial refrigeration units.

Facility operators will be able to use equipment until the end of its useful life since there are no immediate requirements to stop using HFCs. However, having a regular preventative maintenance program (PM) for your HVAC and refrigeration equipment is an excellent way to plan for equipment and refrigerant changes and upgrades, too.

Campbell Can Help

Campbell can also help you keep up with industry changes such as delisted refrigerants as declared by the EPA. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an on-site assessment of your refrigerants and commercial refrigeration equipment.

Learn more about the potential impact of HFCs by reading the EPAs Regulatory Impact Analysis for phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs.