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The European refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump industries join forces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions


09 Jul 2010


Climate & Environment

Europe is setting the course for the future of HFCs refrigerants: in the coming months the European Commission will be evaluating whether the F-Gas Regulation effectively reduces these greenhouse gas emissions through leakage prevention or whether more drastic measures are required.

Inspections, strict record keeping and training to prevent leakage resulted in emissions from refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump equipment in the Netherlands decrease from 20 to 25% to 3.5% on average. The challenge now is for the rest of the European Union to match this performance.

Whilst the Dutch scheme has already existed for more than 10 years, the F-Gas Regulation 842/2006 only entered into force in 2007 and has hardly had the time yet to demonstrate its real potential. However, by mid 2011 the Commission will present a report which will be the basis for a possible review of the current legislation.

A survey by the industry association EPEE clearly shows that the F-gas Regulation has already been working successfully in the EU. Countries as diverse as Hungary, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium, and the UK have seen positive results complying with the regulation’s measures. Graeme Fox, President of the European association of refrigeration contractors AREA, reports: “In countries where the F-Gas Regulation has already been implemented correctly contractors have observed a clear decrease in refrigerant leakage rates. Leakage tests are carried out more often, problems are identified at an earlier stage and, consequently, emissions are avoided.”

Progressing the contracting sector’s expertise level requires constant focus to further reduce emissions. So far, the industry has successfully taken up the challenge of certifying companies and personnel, even though significant differences still exist between the EU Member States. In some countries such as Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands strict rules already applied before the entering into force of the F-Gas Regulation, whilst in others such as the UK and France, the F-gas Regulation requirements have significantly bolstered efforts to reduce emissions.

Some homework still needs to be done on enforcement. EU Member States face a lack of resources to inspect the regulation’s implementation. The industry associations AREA and EPEE are asking for help from enforcement authorities. AREA and EPEE are urgently calling for harmonized control mechanisms and fines in case of non-compliance throughout the EU. Both associations are convinced that proper enforcement would create more awareness in the market – especially at user level- and would accelerate the regulation’s implementation and thus reduce emissions more effectively.

Notes to the editor:

The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), represents the  refrigeration, air-conditioning and  heat pump industry in Europe. Founded in the year 2000, EPEE’s membership is composed of 40 member companies and national associations across Europe realising a turnover of over 30 Billion Euros and employing more than 200,000 people in Europe.  As an expert association EPEE is supporting safe, environmentally and economically viable technologies with the objective to promote a better understanding of the sector in the EU and to contribute to the development of effective European policies.

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