How to stay ahead and address the early action requirements for Stationary Equipment Refrigerant Management to be included in updates to AB 32.
The California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), first passed in 2006 with additional early actions taking effect in 2010, is a broad and comprehensive directive with the goal of reducing greenhouse gasses (GHGs) by approximately 25% by the year 2020. This objective of the early action stems from increases in carbon equivalent emissions in California since 1990. The intent of the legislation to reduce greenhouse gasses to their 1990 levels, thereby reversing 16 years of pollution in less than 14 years.
As part of the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) the Air Resources Board (ARB) has approved an early action measure to reduce high-global warming potential (GWP) greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions by establishing new legislation and defining requirements related to improved monitoring of AC/HVAC systems, enforcement of regulations, reporting of refrigerant usage, and recovery, recycling, or destruction of high-GWP refrigerant gases.
The greenhouse gasses (GHGs) as defined by the California’s AB 32 are identical to those gasses identified in the Kyoto Protocol. These gases are already being regulated, monitored, and managed by many other countries around the World. In addition to carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the most widely known GHG, the following gasses are also defined as GHGs with high global warming potential (GWP) carbon equivalent emissions by the AB 32 legislation:
* Methane (CH4): a byproduct of waste decomposition, and natural geological phenomena; the majority of methane is derived from natural gas drilling.
* Nitrous Oxide (N2O): a pollutant created by industrial processes, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial air pollutants reacting with the atmosphere; like methane, nitrous oxide can also be a product of waste decomposition in nature and agriculture.
* Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6): a gas used for various electrical applications, including gas insulated switchgear. Sulfur Hexafluoride is also used for experimental applications.
* Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs): a collection of commonly used refrigerant and aerosol gasses with a wide variety of other commercial applications. CFCs and HCFCs are considered Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs), as defined in title VI of the US Clean Air Act (Section 608).
The California EPA’s Air Resources Board (CARB) has developed a complex and highly detailed system of greenhouse gas management for refrigerant gasses, known as the Stationary Equipment Refrigerant Management Program, and stricter standards for new or existing refrigeration systems installation and ongoing maintenance. According to CARB this strategy includes careful monitoring of potential refrigerant gas leaks, improved record keeping and certification of personnel as well as specifications for PFC and HCFC recovery equipment.
The proposed Stationary Equipment Refrigerant Management Program, which integrates two AB 32 early action measures, addresses the detailed monitoring and management of the PFCs and HCFCs noted above and includes tracking requirements for new and existing commercial and industrial refrigeration systems. Likely to be implemented by January, 2010, is the monitoring and management of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants in …