In the absence of the United States joining the Paris Climate Accord or ratifying the Kigali Amendment, states have begun to draft their own legislation to phase-down HFC refrigerants or intend to create regulations through the state’s EPA office. While many states have announced their plans to reduce HFCs, some states are much further along, regarding the legislative progress than others. Here is an update on where the some states are in the phase-out process.
States with supporting legislation approved and regulations being promulgated or discussed:
California– Through the California Air and Resources Board (CARB), California is by far the furthest along in its quest to enforce a state-wide phase-down of HFC refrigerants.
Beginning on January 1, 2019 high GWP refrigerants (including 404A and 507A) were banned, through the California Cooling Act, in the following applications: New and retrofit supermarket systems, new and retrofit remote condensing units, retrofit stand-alone units, and new stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btu/hour and not containing a flooded evaporator. On January 1, 2020, they will be banned in: new stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btu/hour, stand-alone medium-temperature units containing a flooded evaporator, and stand-alone low-temperature units.
According to the plan, the maximum cut-off for GWP levels by year are as follows:
- Prohibition of refrigerants with a GWP of 150 or greater in new refrigeration systems containing 50 or more lbs of refrigerant.
- Prohibition of refrigerants with a GWP of 1,500 or greater in new refrigeration systems containing 20 to 50 lbs of refrigerant.
- Prohibition of refrigerants with a GWP of 750 or greater in new air conditioning systems containing two or more lbs of refrigerant.
- Prohibition of refrigerants with a GWP of 150 or greater in new chillers (refrigeration or air-conditioning).
Regarding the sale of high-GWP refrigerants, the Short Lived Climate Pollutants Strategy would include:
- By 2020, no production, import, sale, distribution or entry into commerce of refrigerants with a GWP of 2500 or greater.
- By 2024, no production, import, sale, distribution or entry into commerce of refrigerants with a GWP of 1500 or greater.
For more information see CARB’s website. There will also be an incentive program for low-GWP refrigeration but funding has not been allocated through the California legislature.
Massachusetts- In 2016, Massachusetts Governor Baker signed an executive order “establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth, which included a directive to publish a Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP). ” In response to the executive order, The Comprehensive Energy Plan was published in December of 2018. It is likely that a short-lived climate pollutant phase-down will accompany the law.
New York- Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the New York Department of Energy and Conservation to propose a plan to phase-out HFCs. The DEC released their plan in September of 2018 which begins the phase-down of HFCs in applications like propellants and foam blowing agents in January 2020. Find full proposal here. It is likely that a short-lived climate pollutant phase-down will accompany the law.
Connecticut- In 2015, Governor Dannel Malloy issued an Executive Order to create a state governors council on climate change. This council, named the GC3, developed a recommendation that included an economy-wide GHG emission reduction target of 45 percent below 2001 levels by 2030. The Connecticut General Assembly adopted the GC3’s proposal when they passed the An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency. Finally, Governor Malloy signed the recommendation into law. Relating specifically to HFC reduction, Governor Malloy asked Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environment Protection (DEEP) to create regulations that phase-out HFCs following California’s CARB regulations as a guide.
Maryland- Like many Governor’s previously mentioned, Governor Hogan signed a legislation in 2015 to strengthen Maryland’s Commission on Climate Change. Following that legislation, the Governor signed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2016. The goal of this legislation is to achieve a 25% reduction in Maryland’s greenhouse gases by 2020. It is likely that a short-lived climate pollutant phase-down will accompany the law.
States with stated intentions to start legislation to phase down HFCs:
New Jersey– The New Jersey legislature introduced three pieces of legislation that will impact the HFC phase-down. As stated in ASHRAE’s Government Affairs Update:
Washington State– In December, Washington State’s governor, Jay Inslee, proposed climate change legislation that included $959,000 of funding to eventually phase-out HFCs or as his brief categorized them “super pollutants”. This legislation would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035. This proposal still needs to be enacted by the legislature before the Department of Ecology will begin the regulation process.
In the absence of a national HFC phase-down, states have resorted to their own timelines and regulations. This creates a difficulty for those in the HVACR industry to meet differing standards. At Dynatemp International we support a federally mandated HFC phase-down schedule. A federally mandated phase-down of HFCs, like the Kigali Amendment, would provide market clarity, access to global trade, and an increase in U.S. jobs. See more on the Kigali Amendment here.