Ben Brown highlights the contribution of FETA members to sustainability

The engineering expertise of members of FETA (Federation of Environmental Trade Associations) is already playing a significant part in contributing to the goal of sustainable development. That was the message given by Ben Brown, president of FETA to representatives of Government and end users, consultants, manufacturers, contractors and engineers of all types last month. He particularly focused on preparations being made by the British Refrigeration Association for the forthcoming F Gas Regulation to record the operation of refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. Ben Brown explained, ‘This procedure of regular leak tests and equipment monitoring will ensure we stem the flow of some 6000 t of refrigerant leaking to atmosphere every year — in itself an enormous waste of energy, materials and labour.’ Refrigerants used in air conditioning have very high global-warming potentials. R134a is 1300 times greater than carbon dioxide. R125, one of the components of R410A, has a GWP of 3400. R32, the other component of R410A, has a GWP of 650. The overall effect is that annual refrigerant loss being equivalent to over 10 Mt of carbon dioxide. Ben Brown also referred to work by BRA to come up with a credible approach for carbon-dioxide technology and its recently published study highlighting the technical and skills challenges. The energy wasted in buildings because of poor commissioning was highlighted. ‘Commercial buildings in the UK consume around half of total power generated. Last year alone, an estimated £660 million was wasted by companies just because of existing building systems being poorly commissioned.’ Expressing concern about the view of air conditioning held by many environmentalists, Ben Brown said, ‘The improvement in performance achieved in recent years is truly astonishing, and current systems are dramatically more efficient than those of just a few years ago. The application of air conditioning for combined cooling and heating needs is essential for most new builds, including some domestic dwellings, and HPA is working closely with the Government to define equipment performance standards.’
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