CARB Refrigerant Compliance: 2 Basic Definitions You Need to Know

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CARB Refrigerant Compliance: 2 Basic Definitions You Need to Know

The way you define “refrigeration” may be different than the state’s.

Get to know the definitions of (1) “refrigeration” and (2) “air-conditioning” in the state of California to accurately assess your company’s environmental responsibilities and compliance risks. This is important not only to avoid fines, but also for refrigerant tracking for environmental sustainability, decreasing your environmental footprint, and meeting corporate sustainability goals. 

The 2 Basic Definitions to Know for CARB Refrigerant Compliance

Let’s take a minute to look at how the state of California defines “refrigeration” and “air-conditioning” for the purposes of its Refrigerant Management Program.

Although these basic definitions may seem trivial, they are in fact crucial for you in order to assess your environmental responsibilities and compliance risks.

Definition #1: Refrigeration system

Per the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Refrigerant Management Program (RMP) rule, “refrigeration system” means, 

“stationary, non-residential equipment that is an industrial process refrigeration, commercial refrigeration, or other refrigeration appliance with a single refrigerant circuit that requires more than 50 pounds of any combination of high-GWP refrigerant to maintain normal operating characteristics and conditions. ‘Refrigeration system’ does not include an air-conditioning appliance. A single refrigeration system is defined by a single refrigerant circuit” (§ 95382(a)(57)). (Emphasis added.)

Seems simple enough, right?

Well, wait just a minute… Let’s now look at the definition for air-conditioning and then compare the two…

Definition #2: Air-conditioning

CARB defines “air-conditioning” as “any stationary, non-residential appliance, including a computer-room air conditioner, that provides cooling to a space to an intended temperature of not less than 68oF for the purpose of cooling objects or occupants” (§ 95382(a)(2)).

So, if you’re cooling a computer room, or any space for that matter, at a temperature of less than 68 degrees F, then it’s technically not air-conditioning—regardless of how many occupants and/or objects you’re cooling, according to this definition. 

What temperature are you cooling your space(s)? 

You may want to double-check, especially if these definitions are news to you. 

Well, that concludes the 2 basic definitions you need to know for CARB refrigerant compliance 101. 

Would you like to learn about the popular myths surrounding CARB’s refrigerant management program that you’re probably still believing? 


Get My Free Myth-Debunking Checklist!

(In this exclusive free download, we’ve debunked some of the most popular myths about California’s refrigerant law!)

And if you’re looking for a partner in meeting CARB requirements, turn to Trakref. We’re a software corporation that has been in the regulatory compliance software and environmental compliance calendar software space for years. As an environmental software provider, we make sure our refrigerant capabilities will help you in your journey toward compliance and sustainability, as well as helping with ESG reporting and answering sustainability audit questions. Get in touch with a Refrigerant Geek today.

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