HVAC News Roundup – August 2020

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hvac news roundup august 2020

HVAC News Roundup – August 2020

Thanks for joining our commercial HVAC news roundup for August 2020.

A lot has happened in this month, including the EPA seeking to recover the cost of a 2016 clean-up involving an anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system; a proposal to update the safety standard IEC 60335-2-40; and ASHRAE releasing an updated building readiness guide. You’ll want to stay on top of it all to ensure you’re in compliance and that your company is working toward environmental sustainability and reducing your environmental footprint.

Let’s get started. #HVACNewsRoundup.


EPA Seeks to Recover Cost of 2016 Ammonia Refrigeration Clean-Up

In 2016, the EPA performed an emergency response clean-up and removed over 9,700 pounds of anhydrous ammonia from a cold storage warehouse and ice block manufacturing plant in Vineland, N.J.

The anhydrous ammonia refrigeration system at the facility was described by the EPA at the time to be in a very serious state of disrepair and posed an immediate public threat. 

The cleanup was done under emergency response provisions of the Superfund law. The Superfund program “operates on the principle that polluters should pay for cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers.” As such, the EPA sought to hold the parties monetarily liable for the response and cleanup at the facility, which was at the time hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In August 2020, it was reported that the EPA is now suing the two companies liable for nearly $1 million for the clean-up work conducted at their facility in June 2016.

This story serves a reminder and warning of just what a slippery slope a “breakdown maintenance only” mentality can result in. You’ll want to have a fully realized plan for your corporate sustainability initiative. For full details, check out the news story in the Cherry Hill Courier-Post.


New Proposed Update to Safety Standard for Room Air-Conditioning 

On August 7, 2020, an International Electrotechnical Commissional (IEC) working group released a proposal (61D/455/CDV) to update the safety standard IEC 60335-2-40. 

This proposal would “allow greater use of A3 and A2L refrigerants in room air conditioning systems,” the Cooling Post reports. If this proposal were to go through, it would further support the global HFC phase down, which we reflect in our handy and free Refrigerant Phase Out Chart

Accelerate24.news also states, “Member countries represented on the IEC’s sub-committee 61D will have until October 30 to vote on the proposal.” It will be interesting to see how this unfolds and what this could bring in 2021.


ASHRAE Updates “Building Readiness” Guidance

Earlier this summer, as we mentioned in our HVAC News Roundup for May 2020, ASHRAE provided COVID-19 building re-opening recommendations.

General recommendations included creating a strategic plan; following all requirements on use, occupancy and separation until they are relaxed or lifted; reviewing HVAC programming; and adhering to proper cleaning procedures on high-touch areas of HVAC and other building systems.

In a press release dated August 18, 2020, ASHRAE announced an update of its  “Building Readiness” guidance for HVAC systems, which “includes additional information and clarifications so that owners can avoid operating their HVAC systems 24/7.”


HVAC/R and Refrigerant Management News Across the Globe

As you can see, a lot has happened this month when you consider all the stories above. Here’s a few other things that caught our eye:


Race for $1 Million Global Cooling Prize Is On

The Global Cooling Prize is offering a $1 million prize for those that develop a climate-friendly residential cooling solution. In fact, eight finalist teams are competing for the $1 million prize and “now racing to build prototypes that will be shipped to India for testing in fall 2020.” 


Romanian Authorities Intercept Over 76 Tons of Illegal HFC Refrigerant

What may be the largest seizure of illegal HFC refrigerant since F-gas phase down began, Romanian authorities intercepted 76,045kg of illegal refrigerant, the Cooling Post reported.

This is but one news alert of illegal HFC refrigerant that has happened recently.

It highlights the importance of knowing the origin of your refrigerant materials and cylinders. At Trakref, we like to ask HVACR stakeholders this one very simple question: What’s the origin of your materials? 

If you don’t know the answer to this question with your recordkeeping, consider our refrigerant compliance app, Trakref V3, or our free refrigerant tracking app, Trakref Pro. 


Trakref Featured in Rate It Green’s New YouTube Channel

On August 24, 2020, Trakref’s President & CEO Ted Atwood was featured in a video on Rate It Green’s new YouTube channel. The video interview, conducted by green builder Matt Hoots, covered some common questions and misconceptions in regards to refrigerant tracking. Watch the video interview here.


CARB Provides Responses to Questions About the F-Gas Reduction Incentive Program

The F-gas Reduction Incentive Program (FRP) is accepting applications until October 7, 2020. CARB has provided responses to the questions received from stakeholders from August 7-26. 


Well, that concludes the commercial HVAC News Round for August 2020. As always, thanks for joining us, and be sure to tune in next month for the latest commercial HVAC News Roundup. Staying on top of HVAC news is important to compliance, ESG reporting, and answering sustainability audit questions.

Do you know the key compliant questions to answer about your HVACR assets?

Get our free Refrigerant Management Checklist now by clicking the button below.

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And if you’re looking to work with a company that is always staying on top of the latest in compliance, get in touch with us today. 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 keep you in compliance. Get in touch with a Refrigerant Geek today. 

p.s., Did you enjoy this post? Let us know your thoughts. Leave a comment below, or join the conversation on social by using the hashtag #HVACNewsRoundup.

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