We won't have a society if we destroy the environment.

Margaret Mead.

The Impact of Refrigerants

As with most human living advancements, refrigeration and air conditioning applications have an impact upon the environment, contributing to ozone depletion and global warming.

There are two main areas of environmental impact:

  1. Direct: The leakage of refrigerant gases into the atmosphere which can cause ozone depletion and contribute to global warming.
  2. Indirect: Refrigeration and air conditioning systems consume energy, which raises CO2 emissions and contributes to global warming.

Here are some ways to reduce the environmental impact of refrigerants:

    • Use a refrigerant gas with less environmental impact. Look to use a refrigerant gas with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and low global warming potential (GWP). If you're a consumer, ask your refrigerant engineer or installer about this.


    • Make sure there are no leaks. Refrigerants only create direct emissions when they leak into the atmosphere. We recommend you ensure that your system is leak-free, consider fitting leak-detection systems and follow a regular maintenance schedule.


    • Ensure refrigerant gas is recovered and disposed of safely (through Recovery New Zealand) when maintaining, upgrading or decommissioning a system.


    • Minimise the power consumption of your refrigeration or air conditioning system. This means, regular maintenance of existing systems and using the correct refrigerant gas. Or, install a new system which will likely offer substantial energy savings, via modern technology using next generation refrigerants, including HFOs and natural refrigerants.


    • Use your refrigeration or air conditioning system less. Improve insulation, install doors on commercial refrigerators, freezers and display cases, and change the temperature set-points for air conditioning.


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