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HVCA says early HFC phase out unaffordable

The Heating and Ventilation Contractors Association has said that a premature phase out of hydrofluorocarbons would be unaffordable.

The body has come out with a position paper on the use of the controversial refrigerants.

HFCs can, potentially, contribute to global warming and have been the use of them has been heavily criticised by the environmental lobby.

The position paper has been developed by the HVCA Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Group, and endorsed by the Council of the Association.

The HVCA said: “For the foreseeable future HFCs have a vital role to play in helping users to make the transition from ozone-depleting refrigerant gases (such as the HCFC-based R22, which is already the subject of a phase-out programme owing to its ozone-depleting potential) to more environmentally benign alternatives.

“To consider banning HFC use as early as 2011, as part of a scheduled review of the European F-Gas Regulation, is entirely impractical in that it would require wholesale plant replacement programmes which end users simply could not afford to carry out.”

“As things stand, HFCs remain the most energy-efficient choice for many applications – for  example, in most small to medium-sized air conditioning systems,” the position paper argues.

“Refrigerants are currently responsible for just 2 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – and some 75 per cent of that figure is accounted for by vehicle air conditioning.

“In ten years’ time, when the motor industry has met its phase-out target, HFCs will account for less than 0.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.”

The refrigeration and air conditioning sector is putting its own house in order so as to minimise the environmental impact of continued HFC use, the HVCA said.