Declaration of Intent on the Use of HFC's

Early in 1997 the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board (ACRIB) signed a Declaration of Intent on the Use of HFCs with the UK Government. This document has been developed with the UK Government to help fulfil its commitment contained in the UN Framework on Climate Change. The Declaration represents the response of the air conditioning and refrigeration industry to this challenge.

As a member organisation of ACRIB, the Institute of Refrigeration was involved in all the negotiations leading up to the final document and has signed the declaration together with all other member organisations of ACRIB.

Air conditioning & Refrigeration Industry declaration of Intent on the use of HFC's


"CIimate Change - The UK Programme" published by the Government in January 1994, sets out to fulfil the commitments contained in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It outlines measures aimed at returning emissions of greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by the year 2000. The most notable of these are CO2, methane and nitrous oxide, but reference is also made to other gases including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs) because of their high global warming potentials. These gases are being commercialised as replacements for ozone depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

The UK Government agrees with industry that HFCs are considered essential alternatives to CFCs and HCFCs in certain applications. Therefore, a stated aim of the Programme is that any actions taken to reduce HFC emissions should not damage current efforts to pnase out ozone depleting substances as quickly as possible.

The UK Government confirms that there is no plan to ban the production or use of HFCs to meet its early commitments. For the period after 2000, the latest meeting of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to develop a protocol by 1997 to control greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries. The stated aim is "to elaborate policies and measures as well as to set quantified limitation and reduction objectives within specified time-frames, such as 2005, 2010 and 2020, for their anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol." How HFCs will be treated in this international context is not yet known.

The Climate Change Programme commits the UK Government to explore with HFC producers and consumers the scope for agreements to ensure that, " where HFCs are used, emissions are minimised, and that HFCs are not used where emissions are unavoidable if safe, practical and more environmentally acceptable alternatives are available". This Declaration represents the response ofthe air conditioning and refrigeration industry to this challenge.


Recognising that HFCs have an essential role in replacing CFCs and HCFCs as refrigerants;

Recognising that emissions of HFCs to atmosphere are considered to have the potential to damage the environment by contributing to the accumulation of greenhouse gases;

Recognising that the global warming potential of a refrigeration system comprises both a direct effect from the emission of greenhouse gas refrigerants and an indirect effect from energy consumption and limiting greenhouse gas emissions requires that both these effects be considered;

Recognising that careful and responsible use of all refrigerants, including existing product stewardship measures benefits both the user and the environment;

the UK air conditioning and refrigeration industry together with the users of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment in all its applications hereby declares its intention to contribute to the UK Climate Change Programme by:

a) encouraging the manufacture, installation, commissioning, operation, service and decommissioning of refrigeration systems to the highest professional standards including the approved guidelines in the Institute of Refngeration Code of Practice for Minimising Refrigerant Emissions

b) encouraging the design, installation and operation of refrigeration systems in a manner which promotes the efficient use of energy

c) encouraging all reasonably practicable precautionary measures to minimise refrigerant leakage, and recommending that refrigerants are recovered for reuse, reclamation or disposal during servicing and prior to equipment decommissioning.

d) discouraging the use of HFCs for any application where a risk of high emissions exists, by promoting the use of safe, reasonably practical, environmentally acceptable and energy efficient alternatives, where available.

(For the purposes of this declaration, high emissions are those in excess of 10% loss of initial charge annually from service and/or breakdown of any refrigeration system)

e) encouraging the practice of maintaining a log detailing the quantity of refrigerant used in and extracted from refrigerating systems and equipment with a total charge exceeding 50 Kg.

f) recommending that design, installation, commissioning, servicing, maintenance and decommissioning are carried out only by competent persons and that refrigerant handling is restricted to those with a current registration of competence.

g) assisting the Government in obtaining regular information on the use and emissions of HFC's

The Government and industry undertake to meet annually to review the effectiveness of the Declaration and actions resulting from it.

Signed on behalf of the UK air conditioning and refrigeration industry and users by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board*.

*ACRIB includes:

  • British Refrigeration Association

  • Electricity Association
  • Heating and Ventilating Contractors Association
  • Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Manufacturers Association
  • Institute of Refrigeration
  • Associated Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Contractors
  • Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Electrical Appliances
  • Cambridge Refrigeration Technology
  • Cold Storage and Distribution Federation

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