Phasing out HFC’s Here’s what you need to know


Until the EPA issues its final regulations, there will likely continue to be a lot of uncertainty about refrigerant use in commercial refrigeration equipment.Even though SNAP Rule 20 has been vacated, EPA still has the authority to phase out R-22, which will occur as planned on Jan. 1, 2020.

What is Snap Rule 20? Under SNAP Rule 20, various HFCs and HFC-containing blends that were previously listed as acceptable ✅ were listed as unacceptable ❌ in various end-uses in the aerosols, foam blowing, and refrigeration and air conditioning sectors. 
Specifically, SNAP Rule 20 affected retail food refrigeration end uses including but not limited to:

supermarket systems (new and retrofit);
remote condensing units (new and retrofit);
and stand-alone retail food refrigeration equipment (new and retrofit). 

Not surprisingly, there will be a variety of ways in which store owners will address the phaseout of R-22, as well as the possible phase down of HFCs.
There are essentially two options:

1.) Retrofit using lower-GWP HFOs, which requires minimal changes. Moving from R-404A to R-448A or R449A may require adding compressor cooling and other relatively minor system changes. Through energy optimization best practices, this will reduce indirect emissions, which lessens the carbon footprint.

2.) Move to a new and/or natural refrigerant system, either for a new location or a complete refrigerant retrofit of an existing site. In some cases, all-natural systems have been installed in parallel with an existing system, and then a slow transition is made to use only the natural solution.