Organizations join forces on emissions reduction

June 15, 2007—As the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol approaches, two international organizations focused on the environment have joined forces to reduce emissions and encourage energy-efficient refrigeration and air conditioning systems and building designs.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE), have formalized an agreement to cooperate in several technical issues, such as assessing and addressing remaining chlorofluorocarbon-based chillers. The two organizations also will promote sustainable activities in areas such as emissions reduction and energy efficient systems and building design.

In the mid-1980s, worldwide concern occurred over damage to the ozone layer from the use of ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These substances are used as refrigerants, heat transfer fluids and blowing agents for insulating foams.

In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was adopted after a hole was discovered in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Under the Protocol, CFC use for new equipment has ceased in developed countries, and HCFC usage has been capped and is scheduled to be phased out. Developing countries have agreed to phaseout schedules for both CFCs and HCFCs and have made substantial progress in meeting this commitment. Many new technologies to replace CFCs and HCFCs have emerged with hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have zero ozone depletion potential but positive global warming potential, as one of the most popular.

“ASHRAE and the heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigerating (HVAC&R) industry are responding to growing global demand for new technologies that do not contribute to ozone depletion and are energy efficient,” Terry Townsend, ASHRAE president, said.

ASHRAE and UNEP previously collaborated on a smaller scale with the signing and implementation of a regional cooperation agreement between the UNEP regional office in West Asia and ASHRAE’s local chapters.