The Montreal Protocol – what is it?
The Montreal Protocol is a environmental initiative to reduce Ozone Depleting gas emissions that was enacted in 1987. It targeted CFCs and HCFCs. One of the first HCFC chemicals set to be fully eliminated is R22. This chemical, commonly referred to as “Freon,” was one of the most popular refrigerants until it was banned from new systems in 2010. Currently R22 can only be manufactured for use in repairing old units. Service technicians are also required to recover any HCFCs that might escape during service or when decommissioning a unit. It’s important to choose a quality company like Climate Heating and Cooling to ensure they abide by this regulation. This reduction in R22 release is already showing an impact. Researchers have begun to notice a trend of the arctic ozone hole decreasing in size. The size of the hole has decreased by 4 million square kilometers, an area larger than India. The ozone layer is healing through our efforts to decrease harmful chlorine emissions.
How much of an impact has the Montreal Protocol had? Well, The Economist found it has had more impact than other efforts combined. The Economist states, “Guus Velders of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment has compared the warming effect that would have come about if the emissions of such chemicals had continued to grow at the rate they were growing before the protocol with what has come about thanks to their banning. The net effect is equivalent to that of a whopping 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. That is more than twice today’s total annual greenhouse-gas emissions, which are equivalent to about 50 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (carbon dioxide itself makes up about three-quarters of that, with methane, nitrous oxide and some gases used in industry making up the rest).” This impact shows that the Montreal Protocol is on the right track, and the HVAC industry should be excited about the opportunity to expand into more environmentally friendly options for our customers.
As clarified in the recent update to the protocol, the next target that the Montreal Protocol will eliminate is R410. This is commonly referred to as “Puron.” This was the replacement for R22, and while it has no ozone depleting particles (ODP), it has been found to be a factor in global warming. Therefore in conjunction with The Paris Accord, the plan is for phase out. Similar to the way R22 has been phased out, new units will not be designed for R410 and eventually (by 2030), the goal will be for only small amounts to be available for repairs of older equipment.
Climate Heating and Cooling has been on the front edge of new technology in an effort to bring our customers the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives in heating and cooling technology. Contact us for your Washington DC area heating and cooling needs, and let us help you select a system that is friendly to your home, budget, and the environment. Call us today at 703-750-4008.