HVAC News Roundup for April 2022
We’re at the end of another month, and that means it’s time for an HVAC/R round-up. While not as ground-breaking a month as March, there was still plenty going on in the HVAC/R world.
SB 260 and the SEC
Last month, California passed SB 260 through senate and the SEC moved forward their proposal to make climate disclosures required for publicly-traded companies. You can read more about the developments on our blog.
There isn’t too much more to report now. Both are still moving forward, with many speculating about what the future holds and how this will change the environmental reporting landscape moving forward. We recommend this analysis from JD Supra.
Continued Progress with the AIM Act
On April 19, the EPA issued a press release about their progress with cutting super-pollutants, barring illegal imports, and speeding transition to cleaner new technologies.
The press release mentions the recent meetings in March about the Technology Transitions rulemaking, and states that a proposal will be released later this year. It also points to the distribution of HFC allowances, and a whole-government approach to prevent illegal trade of HFCs to further reduce HFC use. 530,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the same amount as the emissions from nearly 100,000 homes’ electricity use in one year, have been stopped from entering the US.
About the AIM Act, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan says, “Congress provided clear, bipartisan direction to aggressively phase down super-polluting HFCs, and the Biden-Harris Administration has stepped up to deliver a program that will ramp up more climate-friendly and energy efficient alternatives, save money, and stop illegal imports. This will help the United States to meet our ambitious climate goals while allowing American companies to lead the way with innovative technologies.”
Many companies in the grocery space strive for a GreenChilll certification to show they are energy efficient and working toward climate goals. On April 12, the EPA held a webinar to discuss updates to the program for 2022.
We know there will be new data technology to reduce supermarket refrigeration leak rates. The EPA also will discussed market trends, new goals, and some case studies where actionable plans have led to success. They also addressed how companies are planning for required ESG disclosures, including how to use software analytics to reduce leaks. The slides and webinar recording will be posted to the EPA site soon – keep an eye there.
Ozone More Harmful Than We Thought
Phys.org reported on a new study that shows that changes to the ozone layer in the upper and lower atmosphere were responsible for a third of the warming seen in ocean waters bordering Antarctica in the second half of the twentieth century. This is much more than originally believed.
Most of this warming was due to ozone increases in the lower atmosphere. One of the authors of the research, Dr. Michaela Hegglin, says “These findings are an eye-opener and hammer home the importance of regulating air pollution to prevent increased ozone levels and global temperatures rising further still.”
At Trakref, we’ve long been advocates for better tracking of refrigerants to decrease pollution, and studies like this solidifies our reasoning behind this stance.
Sustainability Investments Bounce Back
Johnson Controls’ latest annual Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey reveals that 62% of organizations expect to increase investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, or smart building technology in 2022, signaling a return to pre-pandemic levels. This survey included respondents in the US, UK, France, and Japan.
This survey found many ways that companies are working to be more energy efficient in their HVAC/R operations. For example, more than a third of respondents plan to replace fossil fuel heating equipment with heat pump technology in the next year – that 7% more than the year prior.
The survey also found that the US and Europe are leading the way in green building planning. The US had the most respondents that had already achieved green building certification. US companies were also more likely to be willing to implement measures such as building improvements and on-site renewable energy. Even though some barriers such as finances and company approval were still listed, this is all very encouraging for the future of sustainability.
More Companies Joining Supplier Leadership on Climate Transitions
Brands that take part in The Supplier Leadership on Climate Transitions (Supplier LoCT) sponsor partnerships of their suppliers in instructional seminars on GHG issues, including setting science-based targets and disclosing progress. Supplier learning seminars will begin in September 2022, and it’s just another way that we are seeing companies working toward tracing their carbon footprint more accurately.
More companies have currently joined the initiative, including Atlantic Packaging, The Coca-Cola Company, The Estée Lauder Companies, General Mills, Keurig Dr Pepper, Mondel?z International, Nestlé, Restaurant Brands International, and Yum! Brands.
You can read more about Supplier LoCT and its expansion in this article from Environmental Leader.
Ratifying the Kigali Agreement
On April 9, AHRI President and CEO Stephen Yurek called for the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol by the US government. Yurek pressed how important the Agreement is to phasing down HFCs and saving the planet, and also pointed out that the Agreement has broad, bipartisan support.
The Kigali Agreement was officially submitted for ratification in November to President Biden. Biden has stated that the US has authority to implement the amendment. This authority comes through the AIM Act and the Clean Air Act.
Backing Yurek were letters from companies including Walmart, Carrier, Lennox, and other big names in industry. Read more about Yurek’s call for the Kigali Amendment in The Cooling Post.
Women in Cooling
Leading trade groups and associations have formed a new network to help women in the HVAC/R industry. The International Network for Women in Cooling (INWIC) includes people from all over the world, including Europe, Australia, China, Latin America, the UK, India, Japan, Africa, and North America.
INWIC is looking to open opportunities for women in refrigeration, where they are often underrepresented. It will include opportunities for career development and experiences, especially in developing countries.
Stephen Gill, who led the initiative, points to the need for well-trained refrigeration professionals to further climate goals and bring the industry into the next generation. He notes, ““Women represent a tremendous, largely untapped source of innovation and skills for this sector, and they need to be actively engaged if we are to solve the great environmental challenges of our time. INWIC seeks to do just that.”
Read more about INWIC in The Cooling Post.
Yale Refrigerant Study
A junior at Yale is studying the problem of refrigerant management on the campus. Tilden Chao was awarded a grant to make Yale’s refrigerant more eco-friendly through the Yale Refrigerants Initiative. Through this initiative, Chao and his team identified thousands of units that were not required to be reported, but that were leaking and increasing Yale’s carbon footprint. Accounting for these units doubled the amount of greenhouse gases that they were accounting for.
This is leading Yale to act, including retiring refrigerants with the largest global warming potential and properly labeling cylinders. Chao and his team are realizing what many of us in the industry are – that the problem isn’t the refrigerants themselves, but how we track and manage them.
That wraps up our news for April. Subscribe to our blog for continued round-ups and insights as we head into May. Also be sure to check out our line-up of Open Mics where we’ll be exploring refrigerant-related topics.