Plan for the phaseout of standard refrigerants in commercial HVAC systems. Building owners and facilities managers need to inventory the refrigerants their cooling systems use and determine if these products will be available in the future. The inventory can help businesses decide whether to make major repairs on existing HVAC systems or replace them because of new federal requirements for ozone-friendly refrigerants.
If a company already plans to buy a new HVAC system, the purchasing manager should find out what type of refrigerant it uses and how much longer it will be manufactured.
By 2030, the Environmental Protection Agency will ban refrigerants that contain chlorine, because they deplete the earth's ozone layer. The deadline seems like the distant future, but commercial HVAC systems have long lifespans, and the phaseout involves ending production of the most common air-conditioning refrigerant -- HCFC-22 -- by 2010.
A company may be out of luck if its commercial HVAC system cannot use the new, ozone-friendly refrigerants. Look for replacement refrigerants for HFC-22. They include HFC-134A, R-410A and R-410B.