Happy New Year — all change!

Mike Nankivell, marketing director of UK Daikin distributor Space Airconditioning, discusses the implications of changes in F Gas regulations.

Changes being introduced by the new F Gas Regulation (EU) No 517/2014, which replaces EC No 842/2006, will have a major impact on refrigerant producers and suppliers, the wider refrigeration (including certain refrigerated transport and trailers), air-conditioning and heat-pump sectors — including manufacturers, distributors, installers and end users.

Many of the provisions of the new regulation come into force in the UK on 1 January 2015.

It has always been important for Space Air to have a good working knowledge of the impact that the F Gas Regulation is likely to have — immediately and in the longer term. We need to be aware as alternatives to or low-GWP HFCs or F Gases are developed for use in the air-conditioning and heat-pump products we distribute on behalf of Daikin Europe. This is not only for internal purposes but also to ensure that we can provide our customers with accurate and timely information.

A potentially significant and immediate change and cost for end users/property operators will, in many cases, be the need to install automatic leak-detection devices for systems based on a revised CO2-equivalent refrigerant charge as opposed to weight. This requirement now varies according to the GWP of the refrigerant and will particularly implicate existing commercial refrigeration systems and those using refrigerants with a GWP greater than 2500.

Service and maintenance companies are best placed to advise their end-user clients where this requirement represents a new legal obligation.

Similarly service and maintenance contractors will need to determine and advise their customers of the frequency of mandatory leak-check requirements. The threshold levels for leak checking of systems also vary according to the GWP of the refrigerant used and the tonnes of CO2 equivalent refrigerant in the circuit.

There is a payback for the end user in complying with these new requirements. The active prevention of refrigerant leaks not only reduces the environmental impact but also results in optimised operating efficiencies and reduced running costs.

As distributors of air-conditioning and heat-pump products, we have an immediate obligation to obtain evidence that pre-charged equipment will be installed by an F Gas certified company or qualified individual — but we have already operated controls on this for several years.

Looking ahead to use bans that have some impact on technologies we support and come into effect in between 2020 and 2025, whilst we can reassure clients of the long-term viability of systems that use HFC refrigerants, we are preparing for the introduction of new products/refrigerants designed to replace those being banned. We will also revise some of our publications and advertising and continue providing guidance and information to our customers.

New reporting and record-keeping requirements will serve to inform the European Commission of F Gas movements and demand for future reviews going forward, so these form a critical element of the new regulation.

Check link below for updates on the regulation and legislation.

For more information on this story, click here: December 2014, 6
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