Introducing the Billion Ton Challenge
In 1987, world leaders came together and signed the Montreal Protocol to phase out ozone-depleting refrigerants, such as CFCs and HCFCs. But this refrigerant phase out did not stop refrigerant leaks.
In fact, over thirty years later, the phase out is almost complete, and refrigerants continue to be vented into the atmosphere. In addition, what they didn’t tell us then and what we know now is that the newer refrigerants, like HFCs, are equally as harmful in other ways.
Moreover, all of these refrigerants—regardless of whether they are under a phase out, phase down, or lack thereof—continue to be vented through leaks, poor maintenance, and venting through improper management at the equipment’s end of life.
In fact, billions of pounds of refrigerant have been vented since 1987.
And thus, on World Refrigeration Day for 2020, we announce the Billion Ton Challenge, and we hope that you can join us in this challenge.
What is the Billion Ton Challenge?
After reflecting upon the past 25+ years since the Montreal Protocol was enacted, I have realized that refrigerant leaks are not reducing, rather they are growing. For instance, in the last 26 years, refrigerant sales in the U.S. have skyrocketed by 400% and thereby leak rates have grown by the same number
We are on track to leak more than 80 billion tons of refrigerants in the next 30 years. Since refrigerant leaks have not slowed, then we need a new way to achieve lasting and significant reductions in refrigerant usage.
Right now, in the U.S., more than two billion pounds of refrigerant are installed in systems everywhere. In the next four years alone in this country, we are going to leak 2.4 billion pounds of refrigerant. What can we do about it?
We can start tracking it.
That’s the challenge. The Billion Ton Challenge.Join the Challenge
(Join to get a free refrigerant tracking app plus free compliance training and resources.)
Don’t worry about how much it will cost because we are going to give you the necessary tools to make this happen for free. That includes the software, the training, the resources, and the experience.
We are trying to use the lessons learned from the last 26 years to improve the next 26 years, and we need your help.
This is the Billion Ton Challenge. You track the refrigerant, and, in turn, give us ideas about what’s working or why it’s not; then, tell others what we have learned.
In the meantime, you get to track refrigerant for free and maybe that will pay for a few cups of coffee you can share with colleagues and co-workers and kick around a few ideas on how great we can make things in the future.
Why the Billion Ton Challenge Now?
When I became involved in the refrigerant industry in 1994, my team and I believed that refrigerant venting would go away, and unnecessary refrigerant leaks would stop.
I thought, at the time, that this was the only logical conclusion. That is, I thought service people, building owners, and equipment managers would band together and solve the problem of hundreds of millions of pounds leaking and billions of dollars being wasted every year. I thought others would join because it was the right thing to do; or to save money from lost material; or to lower the cost of energy.
But I thought wrong. Refrigerant leaks have grown not shrunk.
As a result, we are launching this challenge for the 2020 World Refrigeration Day in hopes that every stakeholder involved in the community will help prevent unnecessary refrigerant leakage.
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.