Legislative changes loom for refrigeration industry

The next 12 months are poised to witness landmark changes for the commercial refrigeration sector as two industry initiatives in particular threaten to reach their natural conclusion.

Refrigeration manufacturers that have been keeping tabs on developments in Brussels will be well aware of what’s at stake as new high-level regulations come into force in the next year or so.

The hugely-anticipated Energy Related Products Directive, (formerly the Eco Design Directive), has been the subject of intense debate in the refrigeration sector, with the European Commission working towards a framework that will see cabinets given an A-G energy efficiency rating.

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CESA says that at this stage no standards have been set to establish the benchmarks by which the labelling will be assessed, but it is only a matter of time.

“EFCEM (the European Federation of Catering Equipment Manufacturers, which CESA currently chairs) is working with the EU Commission to come up with a solution as soon as possible — the current timetable is that the first part of the Directive will come into force in January 2015,” said CESA this week.

The other issue dominating the refrigeration agenda involves the control of fluorinated greenhouse gas (F gas) emissions as part of the Kyoto Protocol. The main focus of regulations is to minimise emissions of F gases from products and equipment, through containment, leak reduction and repair and recovery.

CESA said that the EU is discussing revisions to the F Gas Regulations, which will affect the industry.

“The most important new measure proposed is a phase down in the supply of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the most widely used of the F gases. This phase down is to be managed by a freeze in supply in 2015. The freeze would be followed by several reduction steps from 2016 so that, by 2030, European HFC supply would be 21% of 2015 levels.”

There is a variety of new refrigerants available that are both energy-saving and less damaging to the environment. These include hydrocarbons, glycol, CO2 and HFOs, a new type of refrigerant with a low global warming potential (GWP).

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