Global climate change is now having visible effects on the environment. These include loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer and more intense heat waves across the globe. In recent times we have seen forest fires, flash floods and extreme temperatures. Scientists have predicted that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to the emission of greenhouse gases, which are mainly produced by human activities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ₁, which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century.
The Paris Agreement is a landmark international accord that was adopted by nearly every nation in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts. The agreement aims to substantially reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, while pursuing the means to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees₂. The agreement includes commitments from all major emitting countries to cut their climate pollution and to strengthen those commitments over time.
What are the F-Gas regulations?
Since 1st January 2020, the EU Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulation (also known as the EU F-Gas Regulation) have banned the use of refrigerants with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 2,500 or more in certain refrigeration units₃. They also have banned refrigeration technicians from servicing these units.
All retailers, including convenience stores, are required to comply with the EU F-Gas Regulation and the regulation is set to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that can be sold in the EU by 79% by 2030. This means that some refrigerants (including the most common refrigerant R404a) will become increasingly harder to obtain and more expensive.
Retailers who have refrigeration units in the following categories need to check whether they need to comply with the F-Gas regulations:
- Small hermetically sealed systems, e.g. ice cream freezers, bottle coolers, stand-alone retail displays that typically contain between 0.1 and 0.5 kg of refrigerant.
- Condensing units, used in small shops, convenience stores and food service. These are medium sized systems with one or two refrigerated display units cooled by a condensing unit typically containing between 2 and 10 kg of refrigerant.
- Central pack systems, used in supermarkets and other large stores. They typically contain more than 100kg of refrigerant.
- Refrigeration units which contain HFCs amounting to over 40 tonnes of CO2 equivalent are affected by the service ban.
Defra and the Environment Agency have produced an online tool to help you calculate the CO2 equivalent of your refrigerant. Alternatively, you can ask your refrigeration manufacturer or certified maintenance technician if your refrigeration units are affected by the F-Gas regulations. Retailers should identify whether the refrigerant they are using is affected by the regulation and if so, consider what refrigerant solution to choose for their refrigeration unit in order to be compliant. This could mean switching current refrigerants with reclaimed and recycled HFC (which are exempt from the ban but only until 2030), switching to lower GWP refrigerants by either retrofitting your existing refrigeration system or replacing your current refrigeration system with new equipment.
To decide which option is best for your business, you should consult your refrigeration technician. If you decide to replace your refrigeration system, the government has schemes to help support with the cost.
How do Froilabo’s products comply with F-Gas regulations and protect the environment?
Laboratory research can harm the environment in many ways, due to high energy usage, single use products and continuous chemical consumption. Ultra Low Temperature Freezers (ULT) in particular are known for their high energy usage, given their average requirement of 16–25 kWh per day.
Although energy consumption by an Ultra-Low-Temperature freezer is necessary for its function, there are ways in which it can be greatly decreased by following simple guidelines during setup, monitoring and maintenance. Implementing these simple preventive measures can minimize energy consumption and freezer operating costs, and extend its operating life. They also mitigate the risk of losing samples and sustains sample viability. Find out more about the ways in which you can help your laboratory be more energy-efficient.
As global warming is at the heart of our concerns, the refrigerants used in all Froilabo freezers comply with the new F-Gas regulations (EU No. 517/2014). In order to drastically reduce the environmental impact of our freezers, Froilabo have introduced a ‘green gas’ version of our refrigeration equipment and will keep them operating for as long as possible. This involves the replacement of harmful refrigerants with natural gases.
Switching to a Froilabo Ultra-Low Temperature Freezer will therefore ensure that your laboratory complies with F-Gas regulations and minimizes environmental harm to the planet.
Get in Touch
If you would like to find out more information about how Froilabo's products comply with F-Gas regulations, or to inquire about how any of our products may be suitable for your laboratory, please get in touch with a member of our team today.
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