Title VI of the Clean Air Act, “Protection of Stratospheric Ozone,” was put into place by the EPA to protect our planet’s vital ozone layer. Stratospheric ozone is a naturally-occurring gas that filters the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. When the ozone layer is diminished, it allows more UV radiation to reach the Earth's surface. This can lead to increased diagnoses of skin cancer, cataracts, and weakened immune systems; it also leads to reduced crop yields, and disruptions to marine life. We are therefore required by this portion of the Clean Air Act to account for any emissions of ozone depleting substances. If you’d like to learn more, here’s a link to EPA’s Q&A about ozone.
Refrigerants come in hundreds of different blends, and we use a wide array of them here on campus. The most common types of refrigerants include CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons such as R11, R12, R113, R114, and R115), HCFCs (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons such as R22 and R123), and HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons R134a, R404a, R407c, and R410a). Refrigerants are further characterized by two numbers, Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP), and Global Warming Potential (GWP). Both of these values are measured from 0 to 1. Because of their ozone depleting potential, the EPA has phased out CFCs entirely. We have very few pieces of equipment on campus that utilize CFCs. Most of our refrigerant containing equipment here on campus utilizes R134a, which is an HFC. HFCs do not deplete ozone (they have an ODP of zero). They may, however, have a Global Warming Potential greater than zero.
When someone on campus works on equipment that contains 50 pounds or more of any refrigerant, whether it be a contractor or in-house technician, we require that they submit a “Refrigerant Reporting Form”. Similarly, if a technician is removing a piece of refrigerant containing equipment, we require that they submit a “Refrigerant Removal Form". We do offer training for our folks on campus who work with refrigerant containing equipment as well.
If you have questions about refrigerants, please don’t hesitate to contact us.