A2L A classification of refrigerants that indicates the refrigerant is slightly flammable. This quality has big implications for how and where the refrigerant can be used.
AIM Act (American Innovation and Manufacturing Leadership Act of 2020) The 2020 law that brings the United States in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This law directs the EPA to phase down HFCs in a similar manner to how CFCs and HCFCs were phased down before.
Alternative refrigerants Refrigerants with low GWP that come in two broad categories; see “natural refrigerants” and “HFOs” (listed under “synthetic fluorocarbons”).
CO2 equivalent (CO2e) CO2 is the most prevalent greenhouse gas, and its greenhouse gas effects are quite stable over time. Other greenhouse gases are assayed for how much more intense they are than CO2. The EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator is a great source for understanding the intensities of the various greenhouse gases.
GWP (global warming potential) a measurement that compares the relative strength of greenhouse gases. CO2 has a GWP of 1, and the GWPs of other gases are measured as multiples of the effect of CO2. CO2 is quite stable, but other greenhouse gases can decay at different rates, so the time period over which the greenhouse gas effect is measured is very important. When a one hundred year time frame is used, this is referred to as the 100 year GWP or GWP100, while a twenty year time frame is used for the 20-year GWP or GWP20.
HVAC/HVACR Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning or Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
Kigali Amendment An Amendment to the Montreal Protocol that governs the global phase down of refrigerants with high global warming potential.
Montreal Protocol The international treaty that governs the global phase out of refrigerants that are Ozone Depleting Substances.
Natural Refrigerant Natural refrigerants stand in contrast to the synthetic fluorocarbons in that their molecules are not created by industrial processes. Examples are carbon dioxide, isobutane, propane, and ammonia. These refrigerants have very low GWPs and can be very efficient with energy use, but special handling is required. For example, carbon dioxide needs a system designed to handle especially high pressure; isobutane and propane are flammable and must be kept away from electrical sparks; and ammonia is toxic so potential leaks cannot affect inhabited areas.
ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) This is the standard measure for determining the strength of gases that deplete the ozone.
ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances) These are the refrigerants that have high ODPs.
Refrigerant Management — Project Drawdown refers to reducing leak rates of refrigerants and increasing end-of-life refrigerant capture rates as “Refrigerant Management.” But this is also sometimes used as a blanket term that also covers “alternative refrigerants.”
SNAP (Significant New Alternatives Policy) —policies written by the EPA to update which refrigerants are acceptable for use in new equipment. Ever since the United States adopted the Montreal Protocol, the EPA has been authorized by the Clean Air Act to determine which “new alternative” refrigerants are safe and effective for use, as well as to regulate at what point older refrigerants are no longer acceptable for production or use. These policies have been implemented over time as the science and technology behind refrigerants has evolved. Originally the new alternatives were aimed at moving us away from Ozone Depleting Substances. Under the Obama administration, Rules 20 and 21 were designed to begin implementing the Kigali Agreement and move us away from high-GWP refrigerants. During the Trump administration, those rules were rolled back, and some of the roll backs were successfully challenged. But when the AIM act was passed, the EPA has regained the authority to pass regulations like those for HFCs.
Stratospheric Ozone The ozone in the stratosphere that was depleted by CFCs to such an extent that scientists determined we needed to phase out CFCs and reduce their emissions.
Synthetic Fluorocarbons In the context of refrigerant management, this refers to CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and HFOs. These chemicals tend to be patented and stand in contrast to the natural refrigerants.
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