HVAC News Roundup June 2022
June saw more movement and discussion about climate disclosures, including those that will be required by the SEC and California SB 260 if passed. There was also news about compliance and safety, the production of heat pumps, and how companies can continue their commitment to ESG. We’re here to dive into the latest.
SEC Climate Disclosure Rulemaking
The period for comments for the SEC’s rulemaking to make certain climate disclosures required closed this month. Several companies and associations submitted their comments, including Trakref. You can read our comments here.
The SEC also held a roundtable on June 9 about the rulemaking. The main sentiment was that investors are pushing for the rulemaking to move forward. There needs to be alignment between financial reporting and climate reporting, and many panelists noted that we are behind other countries in what we require.
However, there is still some pushback on Scope 3 emissions disclosures and when they are material or not, as well as concern that this rulemaking is for environmentalists instead of investors. The SEC is advocating for the fact that these issues are material and relate to investments, though, so as the next phase in the rulemaking goes into effect, we wouldn’t be surprised to see everything move forward as planned.
California SB 260
The California legislature is beginning the final months of its session. Having passed a budget bill, they are now looking toward other bills that are awaiting review in the second house. This means attention is returning to California SB 260, which would require companies making $1 billion or more in revenue to report on Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions to the California state government.
On June 23, the bill passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee by a vote of 6-3. It will now head to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Senator Wiener, the senator behind the bill, says, “We have some corporations that are already doing the right thing,” and that “this will level the playing field.” While there was some opposition from the California Chamber of Commerce, the bill passed with seven votes and now moves to the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Read more about where the bill currently stands in this press release.
Defense Production Act and Heat Pumps
On June 6, President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to expand the domestic production of heat pumps. In his memorandum on this action, he noted that “the domestic production capability for electric heat pumps is necessary to avert an industrial resource or critical technology item shortfall that would severely impair national defense capability.” You can read the full memorandum here.
Heat pumps contain refrigerant, and in an article for Treehugger, Lloyd Alter makes a case for action for the refrigerants that are in them if we are going to increase production. Heat pumps are charged with HFCs, and even the most climate-friendly HFC, R-32, has a GWP 675 times that of carbon dioxide. Alter argues that if we are going to ramp up production of heat pumps, we need legislation at the executive level on refrigerants and HFCs. We agree with his assessment and hope we see this issue addressed soon.
World Refrigeration Day
On June 26, the HVAC/R industry celebrated World Refrigeration Day. The event takes place to raise the profile of the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat-pump sector and show its effect on modern society. This year’s theme was Cooling Matters, drawing attention to the role that refrigeration plays both in our industry and the world in general, and Trakref was proud to be a sponsor. To learn more about the day, visit the World Refrigeration Day website.
Singapore Ratifies the Kigali Amendment
Singapore became the 134th country to ratify the Kigali Amendment and agree to phase down HFCs. As part of this, the country plans to phase down consumption by 80% over the next two decades.
Further legislation to mitigate HFCs will also come into place in October 2022 under the government’s Environmental Protection and Management Act. This will shift the market toward more climate-friendly technologies, require the proper handling of refrigerants, and mandate the collection and proper treatment of spent refrigerants. To accomplish this, Singapore’s government ensures that “the Government will continue to work closely with industry stakeholders and support them in reducing HFC consumption and shifting towards climate-friendly alternatives.” Read more in this press release.
Legionnaire’s Disease from Cooling Towers in the Bronx
Four cooling towers in the Bronx remind us of the importance of refrigeration safety. The towers tested positive for Legionella pneumophila, the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease. Since testing, the towers have been disinfected. Some damage has already been done, though. Two people have died and four have been hospitalized. Officials encourage New Yorkers in the area to seek evaluation for Legionnaire’s Disease if they have flu-like symptoms. Read more in this article from Gothamist.
Norwegian Construction Companies Failing to Ensure F-Gas Compliance
Compliance is also an issue in the Norwegian construction industry, according to a new audit. The audit accuses some of Norway’s largest building and construction companies of failing to ensure those installing and working on ACs are F-gas certified.
The audit, conducted by the Norwegian Environment Agency, evaluated whether these companies had proper routines in place to ensure sub-contractors comply with European F-gas regulations. It found that companies had little knowledge of their responsibilities, though, and did not have the right measures in place.
Thor Lexow, CEO of the Norwegian contractors association VKE, said, “The result is disappointing and shows that customers still have a long way to go.”
Supply Chain Issues in HVAC/R
We’re hearing woes about supply chain issues from a variety of industries, and HVAC/R is no exception. Companies are sending out warnings that if consumers need repairs, they need to book them far in advance.
One issue is copper production – any materials using copper are hard to get. Another issue is the phase out of R-22. Now technicians are using R410A, which requires units to be updated. Read more about the supply chain issues in this article from WRTV Indianapolis.
Enex to Build New CO2 Refrigeration Plant
Enex Srl is building a new 10-million-euro factory in Breda di Piave, Treviso, Italy. This comes in response to their strong growth in the CO2 refrigeration space.
The new facility will include a factory, office, meeting space, and showroom. It will produce Enex’s medium-to-large size CO2 refrigeration units. Production lines will start in September, with everything else becoming operational by the first half of 2023.
CEO and founder of Enex said about the new space, ““Our new facility will help us to meet the demand created for our high-efficiency, natural refrigerant-based solutions, which are critical to reducing global warming while providing consistent and reliable cooling for essential businesses such as supermarkets, distribution centres and cold food storage facilities.”
ATMOsphere Launches Global Natural Refrigerant Label
ATMOsphere launched a global industry label to highlight manufacturers of natural refrigerant systems and components around the world. The label considers the following when potential applicants apply: 1) company vision; 2) customer satisfaction (measured via testimonials from multiple end users confirming the reliability, performance and service of these companies and products); and 3) measurable impact. This label can then be placed products, marketing material, and more.
Gartner VP Talks Advancing ESG
In an interview with CFO Dive, Kristin Moyer, Gartner VP and analyst, talked about the challenges of companies advancing ESG strategies.
She points to CFOs needing to tie non-financial benefits back to an income statement – for example, how ESG helps with recruitment, especially of younger workers. She also notes that it is important for CFOs to help their board understand the financial realities of ESG by linking it to business strategy to show the opportunity cost of not making investments in it. Finally, she says that CFOs need to create definitions and ground their companies in them to further ESG initiatives.
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