How to better manage refrigerant gases in order to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs)

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Carbon emissions reporting requires detailed monitoring record keeping of emission sources. Reducing a company's CO2 emissions has an impact on climate change. Carbon reporting needs to be approached in a structured organized way. Doing so in this way is known as carbon management.

Carbon (CO2) Emissions Reporting: It's the law.

In many countries, carbon emissions are required by law to be reported across an organization's entire footprint; hence the common term now in widespread use Carbon Footprinting. Carbon data and detailed records of energy, fuel, and refrigerant gas consumption fall under regulatory compliance rules and must be reported in paper, and increasingly, electronic format.

Similar forms of mandatory monitoring, tracking, and reporting of air, water and soil pollutants fall under the Montreal Protocol (refrigerants gases), The U.S. Clean Air Act (many pollutants), and The Kyoto Protocol (6 GHG gases).

EPA and State Regulatory Compliance

Air, water and soil pollutants resulting from emissions that go beyond the property line or are in excess of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and/or state compliance regulations must be reported in order to maintain a safe and healthy environments. In addition, there is a very high likelihood that the United States will follow suite with many other countries to mandate economy wide carbon emission reporting. Submission of carbon emissions reports help identify main sources of GHG (greenhouse gases) and track the volume emitted into the atmosphere so that these volumes may be ratcheted down over time.

HCFC Refrigerants -- The cause of depleted Ozone and increases of GHG emissions.

This is the main basis and high-level background for carbon emissions reporting. Refrigerants gases add higher levels of carbon into the air due to the composition CFCs and HCFCs. The refrigerants used in commercial heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) or regular air conditioning (AC) units include Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and perfluorocarbon (PFC).

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are a collection of commonly used refrigerant and aerosol gasses with a wide variety of other commercial applications. CFCs and HCFCs are considered Ozone Depleting Substances (ODSs), as defined in title VI of the US Clean Air Act (Section 608).

The U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documented that increased GHG emissions is the result of misuse of HCFC refrigerants. As a result of conclusion, the EPA has implemented protocols requiring owner or operators of refrigerant systems to accurately track their refrigerant usage. Refrigerants, referenced as fugitive emissions, make up one of the four main scopes of carbon emissions.

Carbon Emissions Protocols - Get to know these intimately (scope by scope).

The Climate Registry Protocol was written in preparation of mandatory monitoring and tracking or mobile (vehicle emissions), stationary (electricity production), and fugitive emissions (refrigerant gases). These possible sources of emissions are defined below as noted in The Climate Registry, the ISO standards, the EPA protocols, and the World Resource Institute requirements.

Mobile emissions are those which emanate from transport vehicles. Most commonly, these are emissions from the combustion of fuels in transportation sources and emissions from non-road equipment such as equipment used in construction, agriculture, and forestry.

Stationary emissions are those which come from a regular source but do not disperse over greater areas, rather remaining in concentrations in the specific source area. These are emissions from the combustion of fuels to produce electricity, steam, heat, or power using in a fixed location.

Fugitive emissions are air-born emissions that are not released through a stack, vent or other confined air stream. These fugitive emissions can escape from equipment leaks or evaporation. Examples include releases of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) from electrical equipment, hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) releases during the use of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, process equipment leaks, etc.

The EPA, ISO, World Resource Institute, and Climate Registry all have reporting protocols which outline, in a systematic way methods for collecting, calculating, and reporting carbon emissions. All protocols are available. There is not a single reporting protocol as of early 2009. These protocols offer a clear, concise requirements specification to manage compliance within EPA guidelines related to mandatory carbon emissions reporting but interpretation across the protocols in necessary for complete compliance.

Critical Heads Up - Companies are facing a mind-bending challenge. They must understand the protocols, organize, collect, and report Greenhouse Gas emissions across their entire organization or face extra financial burden.

Where refrigerant gases prevail heavily in multiple sources, refrigerant reporting as well as refrigerant tracking will lead to a better phasing in of mandatory carbon reporting. Legal carbon emissions reporting pave the way for lasting reductions in carbon emissions and improved management of company assets. Measure reduction in CO2 emissions. The goal to keep focused upon is a cleaner environment through reduced use of harmful refrigerants and more efficiently managed companies.

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