Earth Day 2020 – The Refrigerant Management Conundrum
It’s Earth Day
Impossible things are happening every day, so today we offer free refrigerant management software.
Buckminster Fuller was an inventor best known for creating the Geodesic Dome, he was a futurist that created things to help mankind and protect the planet, he referred to earth as “Spaceship Earth”. He is credited with the invention of the Geodesic dome in 1948 and this self-proclaimed system theorist, inventor, architect and publisher at one point wrote a book called “The Operating Manual for Planet Earth”, where he imagined us all as a crew, united by a shared fate, on a tiny spaceship traveling through infinity.
Born in 1895, by 27 years old in 1922 he had invented the Dymaxion car. This was a pretty extreme vehicle (way ahead of its time) in a day and age when the Model T was still rolling (model T remained in production until 1927) across every road in America.
So on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, we are calling attention to Buckminster Fuller because in addition to wild creations and far reaching concepts, he also developed a theory called the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; which suggests that up until 1900, human knowledge was doubling every century. By the end of World War II it was proclaimed that knowledge was doubling every 25 years, or basically the span of a career. Following this theory to the present day, we now assume that average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months! But that’s not the most incredible part, some say that learning will double every 12 HOURS as Ai (Artificial intelligence) is applied to the learning process and computers assist us in every aspect of our lives and learning.
Refrigerant Management Impact
They say that learning begins when knowledge conquers fear, and with that sentiment in mind back in 1987, the world came together and agreed that the earth would come first and that we’d figure out the economics second. Known as the most successful environmental treaty in international history, the Montreal Protocol was created to reduce the emissions that lead to the hole in the ozone layer. A total of 197 countries have stepped up and committed to ending emissions, and controlling access to the materials that lead to the hole in the Ozone. This treaty lead to a US regulation called EPA 608, that was intended to reduce emissions by developing better refrigerant management practices and guidelines to transition the US away from the harmful CFCs that had caused the hole in the Ozone.
First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries.
The Hole in the Ozone is Still There, and Now There is a New One Over the Northern Hemisphere
On the advent of this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a massive hole in the ozone Layer over the Arctic was discovered by NASA last month- the largest ever recorded. Most commonly found over the Antarctic, due to the extreme cold found down there, this hole in the Ozone over the Arctic, is the result of continued emissions of refrigerants and extremely cold temperatures combining together to remove over 70% of the protection we rely on the ozone layer to protect us from UV rays which are harmful and can cause skin cancer and cataracts.
The hole reminds us that regardless of the progress we think we made over the past 25 years, that maybe we need a little insight from Buckminster Fuller (known endearingly as Buckey), who predicted that we would be doubling our learning every 12 years. In reality, what happened was that during the last 25 years we quadrupled refrigerant emissions in a span of time when most people think we reduced emissions.
The refrigerant and HVAC/R regulatory space, has seen changes in laws and requirements at the federal (and even state) level that can be perceived as having an effect on refrigerant emissions, but as it turns out no matter whether they add new regulations or take them away, emissions seem to remain the same. We are not managing refrigerants very well, but there seems to be a lot of talk about the few rules that remain in place.
Pride Not Prize
Refrigerant management regulations over the past 30 years have been incredibly successful. The industry has grown, and in the early days US lead innovation created more jobs at home than expected. Now is not the time to doubt the progress, but to find a way to be more effective and benefit from the innovations that have made their way into the market.
Bucky got frustrated too back at the end of WWII, with how architects and designers used technology in their craft — he felt they used only the necessary amount to make their work easier, instead of allowing the possibilities of the technology to dominate the decisions. So he switched gears and it lead to the Geodesic Dome, which was a huge innovation that lead to one of the strongest, most energy efficient, durable structures and continues to inspire architects everywhere.
He innovated every time he got frustrated and inspired others and we are extending that inspiration to offer a challenge and a solution because managing refrigerant is one of the most urgent problems facing us today and in order to draw attention and support to the thinkers and doers on the front line we want to provide a comprehensive, whole-systems approach to designing a solution to this great challenges: reduce refrigerant emissions and gain control over material usage.
Nourish the Interest to Learn
As long term members of the HVAC/R industry, we have noticed that we are a curious bunch and that’s important because the future of our careers may depend on it. After 25 years with little (no) progress, the new generation of refrigerants are expected to be leaked, which means they will have to conform to future emission planning programs, which encourages use of flammable, more toxic materials or alternate environmental impact materials (safer for the environment but harder to handle).
Refrigerants are fantastic when they are kept in the system. It’s when they leak that we have problems. Traditional refrigerant management tracking solutions use invoices to track materials or maybe even a beefed up work order system that has a digital place holder for refrigerant use, but that’s not enough to tell us at year end, where, when, who and why was all the refrigerant used.
Best Friends Forever (BFFs)
Last week, we took an initial step and offered a FREE version of Trakref Pro, “The Digital Refrigerant Journal”. Free, as in no cost, no charge, but there are two strings attached.
- We need you to sign up for our new Dealer Network. We won’t share your name, your email, or anything about you- it’s your data and it will remain private. The network is a referral and learning program meant to encourage and nourish the inquisitive nature that flourishes in this industry. We share updates to regulations, changes in policy and technology advancements that limit refrigerant loss.
- It’s a referral program, so we all need to refer and link opportunities. We all share opportunities and possibilities, confidentially between clients that need services and our network. We get asked all the time, who would you suggest? We work everywhere and with some of the highest profile accounts in the world, they are always looking for people striving to do the right thing and perform at the highest level.
Your team will get access to an unlimited license to use the Trakref Pro, Digital Refrigerant Journal, so you can track cylinders and materials everywhere they go. This is all backed up by our Blockchain technology that ensures seamless and simple visibility of all your activity (read more about it here). This product has been in the market for years and we recently let all of our paying clients know that it would be free from here on out.
The team that designed, built, and supports the Free Digital Refrigerant Journal software, is the same team that supports our flagship compliance product called TrakrefV3, we call this team “The Refrigerant Geeks”, and the Geeks have a plan they want to announce: The Refrigerant Geeks E-learning Academy.
The Refrigerant Geeks E-Learning Academy
E- Learning is the hottest trend right now, and as part of the Covid19 Business Continuity Plan (started last month), we are launching our biweekly 40 minute training series that will cover topics from California regulations, to changes in Federal requirements, and more tactical topics like “how to calculate your leak rate” or even “How to determine a system charge”.
We have all become accustomed to knowledge at our fingertips, because it has been said that our phones are like our third hand. By signing up for Trakref Pro, The Digital Refrigerant Journal, you gain access to a resource that will empower you to save money by tracking refrigerant use, forge links between your team, and enhance learning options that will empower you to advise clients and plan for the future. To register for the network, you simply need to click the link here or below. By joining the network, you are not obliged to use the software or even join the trainings, but once you are signed up you will get access to both.
Impossible things happen every day, and even though with 25 years of experiences behind us, refrigerant emissions remain high, we are still convinced that this will change. So today, as we look back 50 years and remember the pioneers that gathered on college campuses all across the US, and even though we remain isolated from one another we are not restrained from making an effort to improve our world and work environment.
Register for our bi-weekly, 40-min training series that will cover refrigerant management regulations, federal requirement updates, and tactical topics.
Can’t attend the trainings, but still want access to the important info that will be covered? That’s fine, just register and you will be on the list.
Written by Ted Atwood Ted is the President & CEO of Trakref, a cloud-based HVAC/R and refrigerant management software company that provides unprecedented solutions for commercial properties. He has spent more than 20 years in the HVAC/R industry, even owning and operating one of the nation’s largest refrigerant reclaim and recycling companies.