Regulation clamps down
on refrigeration systems
leaking greenhouse gases
Dec 10, 2009 10:32 AM
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted the nation’s first comprehensive regulation to reduce potent greenhouse gases from commercial and industrial refrigeration systems. This rule will reduce greenhouse gas emissions of 8.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2020. That is equivalent to removing about 1.4 million cars from the road for a year.
Gases used as refrigerants trap heat in the atmosphere at rates thousands of times that of carbon dioxide. A leak of 1.5 pounds of the most commonly used refrigerant (R-22) is the equivalent of releasing a metric ton of CO2.
Regulations apply only to large commercial and industrial systems that use more than 50 pounds of refrigerant for a single unit. This means the rule applies mainly to supermarkets, food and beverage processors, cold storage warehouses, and industrial cooling processes. The rule does not apply to systems that use ammonia or carbon dioxide as refrigerant.
Beginning in 2011, the rule will require leak inspection, repairs, required service practices, and recordkeeping. Leak inspections will vary from continuous leak monitoring to quarterly or annual leak inspections, depending on the type and size of refrigeration systems.
Starting in 2012, registration, reporting, and fee requirements will be phased in for facilities in these three categories:
•In 2012, about 2,000 facilities with large systems using greater than 2,000 pounds of refrigerant register, report, and pay an annual fee of $370.
•In 2014, about 8,500 facilities with medium systems using between 200 and 2,000 pounds of refrigerant register, report, and pay an annual fee of $170.
•In 2016, about 15,500 facilities with small systems using greater than 50, but less than 200 pounds of refrigerant submit a one-time registration with no annual fee or reporting.
In other news, CARB reminds the industry that the Transport Refrigeration Unit (TRU) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) compliance deadline for meeting in-use performance standards for model year 2002 and older TRUs is December 31, 2009. After that date, non-compliant TRUs will be subject to penalties up to $500 per unit per violation. There will be no grace periods for late ordering; penalties may be greater if non-compliance continues.
Compliance assistance materials, including lists titled Control Technology Options for Complying with the TRU ATCM and Compliance Assistance Contacts, are available at www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/tru.htm.
Call the TRU Help Line at 1-888-878-2826 with compliance questions.
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