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The F Word

Sometimes when you hear those who claim to be the guardians of our planet talking about our refrigerants they talk about a group of them as if the gas itself is contaminated and the Devil’s own creation. They brand all of those who use the gases as careless, irresponsible purveyors of evil and they always try to take the moral high ground.

And yet our industry can be proud that with fluorinated gases we can really make a difference to the UK’s carbon emissions levels and help work towards the reduction targets that Westminster and Brussels have set.

Yes, the gases are potent greenhouse gases. So what? When they are safely contained in properly constructed and tested systems they have no direct effect on the environment. The gases can have a massive indirect effect on the environment though – through emissions at power stations.

HFCs are the most energy efficient gas available to us for small to medium duty applications. Buildings, we are told, account for around 40 per cent of energy supplied by power stations. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration equipment, we are told, account for around 60 per cent of the energy used in buildings. So we have a big part to play in achieving the emission reduction targets – in two main ways:

  1. Using the most energy efficient gas at all times means we need to keep using HFCs in many applications;
  2. Making sure the charge is correct will make sure the rated efficiencies are achieved.

Both of these require one common factor: as an industry we have to make F-Gas work.

  • By significantly reducing our leakage rates we eliminate the argument against any gases with a high GWP because gases contained in sealed systems have no direct global warming effect;
  • By using the best gas in terms of energy efficiency we minimise the power consumption;
  • By making sure the correct refrigerant charge is in a system we minimise the power consumption

I know you’re all fed up hearing about F-Gas but it really is essential, now that we have the regulation, we must make it work. Then we can take the moral high ground I have long believed is rightfully ours.