BSEE INDUSTRY COMMENTS
2018 heralds the start of some major changes to the F Gas regulaons, as the industry strives to move away from the most harmful gas types. Mark Krull, Director for Logic Cerficaon (LCL), looks at what’s in store.
eventually stopping the use of HFCs with a high Global Warming Potential (GWP). For engineers working with refrigeration and AC equipment, the pace of change can be hard to keep up with, as the industry works towards the 2030 phase out of the most harmful HFCs. But the F Gas Regulations are leading to some alarm within the industry, due to price rises, a lack of availability when it comes to stalwart gases – such as R404 and R410A – and fears that relatively new equipment may soon become obsolete. This year in particular marks a milestone, with big cuts planned for high GWP gases, aiming for around a 40% reduction, compared with just 7% this year and last.
Some upheaval is unavoidable; AC and refrigeration businesses who embrace change, however, can use this situation to their advantage.
F Gas – what’s in store
EQUIPMENT UPGRADES: With lack of availability and price rises encouraging the move away from high GWP gases, end users may be concerned that they will be forced to upgrade. Manufacturers, however, will supply parts throughout the life of the equipment. Some of this equipment is relatively new, so even though the aim is to phase out R404A, as the name suggests, it’s a ‘phased’ approach, which means there is
he F Gas Regulations aim to reduce emissions by 79% between 2015 and 2030,
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FGas – it’s me to embrace change ‘
definitely a point in repairing these systems. Currently, a full VRF system can’t run on R32 – VRF applications use greater volumes of refrigerant. To ensure these older systems are efficient, maintenance is key to prevent refrigerant leakage. A ban on the servicing of high GWP equipment won’t come into effect until the complete switch over. To encourage upgrades where possible, however, it is worth noting that the new breed of gases are not only better for the environment, they can also improve the running of associated equipment. R32, for example, can enhance system efficiency by around 5% compared with R410A, providing further encouragement to end users. SAFETY: Some refrigerants (A2L) are more flammable than their A1 counterparts. To help installers stay safe, The Federation of Environmental Trade Associations (FETA) has issued guidance on A2L refrigerants. Visit http://www.feta.co.uk
EN378, the safety standard that applies to air conditioning equipment, has been updated to recognise the use of A2L refrigerants. BREXIT: It is likely a version of the F Gas regulations will be retained, as and when we leave the EU. As an industry, we have a responsibility to reduce the environmental impact of our working practices; whether an EU regulation or not, F Gas focuses on this aim, so it is essential that its good work is continued.
During a recent investigation by the parliamentary Environmental Audit
Committee, Refcom urged the UK government to continue to comply with the EU’s F-Gas regulations as closely as possible. Bodies such as BESA and FETA have also been pushing for the UK to follow the EU’s directive to curb emissions when we’re no longer an EU member state.
Training and educaon
The key to a smooth transition to new gases and associated equipment is through ensuring installers and maintenance staff have the right skills. The new lower GWP gases are substantially different to the current gases and installers will need training to use both the new gases and new equipment, safely.
Beer for business
For smart installers, the F Gas regulations present a good business opportunity; installing new systems, repairing older ones and generally helping customers make the move to greener cooling.
LCL’s Level 3 F Gas course covers Categories 1, providing candidates with the skills to install, maintain and service refrigeration, heat pump and air conditioning equipment, including the recovery of refrigerants from the system and many of the latest lower GWP products as detailed in EU Regulation 2015/2067.
upgrades where possible, however, it is worth nong that the new breed of gases are not only beer for the environment, they can also improve the running of associated equipment. R32, for example, can enhance system eciency by around 5% compared with R410A, providing further encouragement to end users.
’ The future of twoinone heang and cooling
lobal energy consumption for air conditioning refrigeration and other cooling appliances is forecast to surge 90% on 2017 levels, as the climate gets warmer and incomes rise in the developing world.
G And since energy for cooling still primarily comes from
Recent research suggests that energy use for cooling will overtake the demand for heang by 2050.1
in mind, the need for energy ecient, hybrid heang and cooling systems is highly likely to grow. Phil Mangnall, Managing Director at Jaga UK, discusses.
burning fossil fuels, the UK and 21 other countries have already pledged to double their public clean energy R&D investment over the next five years, to make ‘clean cooling’ more accessible and affordable. Furthermore, Climate Minister Claire Perry recently announced that the UK government will ask the Committee on Climate Change to provide new advice on the implications of the 2015 Paris Agreement for the UK’s long- term targets.2
With cooling and refrigeration becoming a hugely significant part of our energy footprint, it’s inevitable that the energy landscape is going to transform in the near future. The first step is to start thinking of heating and cooling as parts of one integrated system. Two-in-one heating and cooling systems not only warm an interior, but are quick to adapt to cooling until the desired temperature is reached. Jaga products built with the cooling function are highly responsive to temperature changes, making them ideal for warming in the winter, and cooling in the summer.
A hybrid system is able to not only cut down on energy usage, it will also reduce operating costs while maintaining year-round comfort conditions.
Equally, there are the sustainability benefits of glazed façades. On a basic level, glass is made of non-polluting materials and is manufactured in a low-waste energy efficient process, with the majority of glass products for buildings being recyclable.3
32 BUILDING SERVICES & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER JUNE 2018 A L E IL T IN G R N IR B S V JUNE 2018 U D IC O & M Beyond this, the natural light
But in order to meet the targets of this strategy, we must look beyond simply generating renewable energy, and assess how that energy can be used most efficiently.
available from floor-to-ceiling windows means less artificial lighting is required, and the warmth of the sun can be utilised in heating the building, reducing overall energy usage. The aesthetic appeal of glass fronted façades also means they are becoming a modern favourite. But while the thermal insulation of these materials has improved, glass still offers a low level of heat retention and in the winter, this can be problematic. Glazed façades can also be vulnerable to condensation, and without the right balance between interior humidity and outdoor temperature, this be an ongoing complication.
So it is vital to assess the heating and cooling and even ventilation needs of such buildings at the earliest. With a strategic approach to HVAC specification, a system can be introduced that harnesses the benefits of a glass façade and mitigates the potential downsides, whilst preserving a high level of energy efficiency. Equally, planning in the heating at the design phase could save valuable floor space in commercial buildings. In terms of preparing for the shift, efficient heating, cooling and ventilation solutions are crucial. For instance, by specifying Low-H2O models now, building managers can make the most of existing renewable solutions, or even make traditional systems more efficient, but also be ready for the energy innovations of the future. Global warming remains a huge concern, and while solar and wind power is now cheaper than fossil fuel, natural resources are still being depleted at an unsustainable rate. Respecting nature is at the forefront of what we do, and who we are. To us, that not only means operating in the most sustainable and balanced means possible, but spreading our passion for the environment as far and wide as we can.
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uJaga trench heang installed in a building with a contemporary glass façade.
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