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  • Keep Cool, Don’t Panic

    If your air conditioning system is over 10 years old, a breakdown could make you uncomfortable in more ways than one

    The R22 refrigerant used in such systems before 2003 has ozone-depleting potential and is being banned from 1 January 2015. If your system breaks down or needs a service after this time, it may need to be replaced because you won’t be able to get spare parts and R22 will no longer be available. If yours is an R22 air conditioning system, you have two choices:

    OPTION ONE:

    Do nothing until the end of 2014 and risk site shutdown and/or fines according to EC Ozone Regulation No. 1005/2009.

    OPTION TWO:

    Plan a considered, costed replacement strategy to reduce the risk. Replacing your system can reduce running costs and carbon emissions while providing a more controllable, comfortable environment. Replacing your system needn’t be expensive and could even be cost neutral.

    • Modern systems provide heating as well as cooling, reducing your energy bills.
    • Kimpton Energy Solutions can also provide a finance package to help you spread the cost of the equipment and the installation.
    • Offset the costs against your annual tax bill if the equipment is ECA rated.

    NEED SOME MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE R22 REFRIGERANT AND R22 LEGISLATION

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    R22 Refrigerant

    The hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) compound (Chlorodifluoromethane or difluoromonochloromethane) is also known as HCFC-22 or by its more popularly known name of R22 refrigerant.

    R22 Refrigerant is a colourless gas and was once a commonly used propellant and refrigerant in air conditioning applications. From 2010 only recycled or saved stocks of the R22 Refrigerant could be used and it can no longer be manufactured. R22 is classified as a greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential.

    R22 Refrigerant Legislation

    New legislation has come into force to limit the manufacture and use of R22 as a refrigerant. This has been necessary to reduce its impact on the environment and limiting its effect on global warming. From 2010 it was no longer possible to manufacture R22 and only existing stocks could be used limiting its availability and increasing its price.

    Why are the changes being made?

    The R22 refrigerant legislation changes are been made because it has been shown that R22 has a negative effect on the ozone layer which protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, there is also a lot of discussion about the effects of R22 on global warming, whilst many believe its not the most significant contributor to global warming, it still has an effect which needs to be controlled through legislation. Many companies who use R22 Refrigerant in their systems started to comply with the R22 legislation in advance of the deadlines which has been demonstrated by the facts that the majority of R22 refrigeration units are at least one third of their way through their planned lifespan and when companies are modernising their plants, they are choosing to move over to alternative refrigeration solutions rather than spending money and resources repairing or maintaining the existing R22 refrigerant systems. In addition, new plants are being built that use refrigerants which have zero ozone depleting potential such as ammonia and R404A. These alternative refrigerants to R22 are also proven to be more energy efficient than the R22 refrigerant and are therefore a better and more popular choice for the companies in question.

    When do the changes have to be completed by?

    The ultimate deadline is 2015 and many companies, even though they have started looking at the implications of looking at an alternative to R22 have left them an awful lot to do to comply with the full R22 legislation prior to this date.

    Another problem facing many companies is that they rely on the existing R22 refrigerant for their day to day business operation so they can’t simply “turn off” the process whilst an alternative is designed and built. Key to a smooth transition lies with ensuring the successful project management of the removal of the R22 refrigerant and professional installation of a replacement system. In order to efficiently facilitate the move away from R22 Refrigerant, it is important to effectively and efficiently utilise the existing equipment wherever possible as well as the planned construction of new building, minimising disruption to ongoing operations and the smooth integration of new plant during a suitable period. However, it should not be forgotten that the most important part of the process is the careful and safe removal of the R22 and its integral chemicals.

    The replacement of R22 also carries substantial risk as the new refrigerants contain Hydrocarbons. Consisting mostly of Iso-butane, Propane and Ammonia, these refrigerants have additional hazards associated with them which will require specialist engineering skills to deal with. In addition, there is also an impending “Mandatory registration’ of engineers onto the ACRIB register and Companies onto the REFCOM register that must be adhered to.

    HCFC’S INCLUDING R22 REFRIGERANT OVERVIEW:

    • 01/01/2001 – Freeze at 2% of CFC consumption in 1989 + total HCFC consumption in 1989 by 01 January 2001
    • 01/02/2002 – 15% cut
    • 01/01/2003 – 55% cut
    • 01/01/2004 – 70% cut
    • 01/01/2008 – 75% cut
    • end 2009 – Phase out complete

    CONTROLS OVER USE OF HCFC’S

    From 01/07/1995 HCFC’s will be banned except as solvents, as refrigerants, for the production of rigid insulating foams and integral skin foams in safety applications, in laboratory uses, including research and development, as feedstock in the manufacture of other chemicals and as a carrier gas for sterilisation substances in closed systems.
    From 01/01/1996 HCFC’s will be banned in the following uses: in equipment produced after 31/12/95 as: refrigerants in non-confined direct evaporation systems; refrigerants in domestic refrigerators and freezers; in motor vehicle, tractor and off road vehicle or trailer air conditioning and inroad public transport air conditioning.
    From 01/01/1998 HCFC use will be banned in equipment produced after 31/12/97 for rail public transport air conditioning.
    From 01/01/2000 HCFC use will be banned in equipment produced after 31/12/99 for use as refrigerants in public distribution and cold stores and warehouses and as refrigerants for equipment of 150kW and over shaft input.
    From 01/01/2001 HCFC’s are banned in all other refrigeration and air conditioning equipment produced after 31/12/2000, with the exception of fixed a/c equipment, with a cooling capacity of less than 100kW where use shall be prohibited from 01/01/2004 and of reversible air conditioning / heat pump systems where the use of HCFC’s shall be prohibited from 01/01/2004 in all equipment produced after 31/12/2003.
    From 01/01/2010 The use of virgin HCFC’s shall be prohibited in the maintenance and servicing of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment existing at that date.
    From 01/01/2015 The use of recycled HCFC’s will be prohibited in the maintenance and servicing of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment existing at that date.

    OTHER RECENT R22 REPLACEMENT PROJECTS

    Kimpton Energy Solutions has completed a number of high profile R22 replacement projects in recent years, listed below is a summary of a number of recently completed projects involving the replacement of R22 in refrigeration and air conditioning systems.

    CLIENT NATURE OF WORKS
    BUPA De-commission existing 10 R22 split systems and replace with new VRF system
    Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts Replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems. 50No. Indoor units
    News International Replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems. 12No. Indoor units
    Unilever Phased replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems. 80No. Indoor units
    Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Phased replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems with a new VRF system
    Unilever Replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems.
    Kimberley Clark Replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems with a new VRF system

    Air Conditioning Case Study

    R22 Replacement

    The Client

    Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust manages Southport and Formby District General Hospital and Ormskirk and District General Hospital .The Trust comprises two hospitals: Southport & Formby District General Hospital and Ormskirk & District General Hospital and provides healthcare in hospital and the community to 258,000 people across Southport, Formby and West Lancashire.

    The Challenge

    New legislation has come into force to limit the manufacture and use of R22 as a refrigerant. This has been necessary to reduce its impact on the environment and limiting its effect on global warming. From 2010 it was no longer possible to manufacture R22 and only existing stocks could be used limiting its availability and increasing its price. The project involved the replacement of various air conditioning plants at both the Ormskirk District General Hospital site and Southport and Formby Hospital site to suit the recent changes to the F Gas regulations and the banning of R22 as a refrigerant gas.

    The Solution

    A total of 27 systems were replaced at the Ormskirk site with 42 systems being replaced at the Southport site. There were also a number of Fridge/Freezer systems that were replaced on both sites, including all associated pipework and controls.On both sites there are air handling units which had DX cooling coils and associated condensing units that were also replaced with modifications carried out to the existing BMS system to ensure its compatibility to the newly installed equipment.

    The scope of the project involved the de-gassing and removal of existing air conditioning systems, the replacement equipment for the walk-in fridges and freezers and the replacement of AHU DX cooling coils and associated condensers. Equipment supplied to the Southport site that would be exposed to the corrosive elements of the sea air were coated in “Bronze Glow” post manufacture to protect against corrosion.

    All of the works were carried out in two live hospital sites. Careful and considerate planning had to be undertaken in liaison with the hospital staff to ensure that the works could be carried out in an efficient manner whilst causing the minimal disruption to the operation of the sites.

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    Key Statement

    The replacement systems were required to comply with current legislation regarding the use of ozone depleting chemicals in refrigeration systems, and therefore unavoidable, however, the new systems are more efficient both in terms of energy usage and ongoing maintenance costs which will provide a long term benefit to the trust.

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