WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. home appliance industry is ratcheting up its efforts to transition away from home refrigerators and freezers that utilize high-global-warming hydrofluorocarbon (high-GWP-HFC) refrigerants as part of an initiative to improve energy efficiency and reduce harmful environmental impacts.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the Washington, DC-based trade organization of leading appliance suppliers, announced in April that it has filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, requesting that the EPA ban HFC refrigerants in all home-comfort products, not simply refrigerators and freezers. The home appliance industry has been actively transitioning away from HFC blowing agents, and by next year, most refrigerators sold in the U.S. will no longer use those refrigerants, according to AHAM.
“The home appliance industry has taken the next step in its transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants by petitioning the EPA to ban GWP-HFC refrigerants in home comfort products such as dehumidifiers and portable and room air conditioners,” said Kevin Messner, AHAM senior v.p./policy & government relations.
“The industry is continuing its commitment to the environment by announcing this latest step to move to more environmentally friendly refrigerants,” Messner said. “We look forward to working with EPA to expedite the approval of this petition.”
As part of the move toward more environmentally friendly refrigerants, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is compiling a special Buyer’s Guide enabling design professionals, residential remodelers and other appliance specifiers, as well as homeowners, to access a list of HFC-free refrigerators that contain the efficient natural refrigerant isobutane (R600a) in lieu of those that use high-GWP HFCs such as R134a, EIA officials said. The Buyer’s Guide currently lists more than 50 “climate-friendly” refrigerator/freezer models. Each model includes brand name, model number, and whether the unit is qualified or certified by the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program, the EIA added, noting that the products are labeled with a sticker located on the inside compartment that lists which type of refrigerant has been used.
EIA officials said that the guide will continue to be updated and encouraged individuals to submit information on unlisted R600a refrigerators to [email protected].