New York State Finalized Regulations to Dramatically Reduce HFCs

October 14, 2020
3 min read

Andrew M. Cuomo, the governor of New York, recently announced that there are new finalized regulations to substantially reduce the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in New York State. Near the end September, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulations were determined to adopt Rules 20 and 21 from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.

What will the new regulations do?

  • These new regulations will prohibit the sale, installation, and commercial use of certain HFC refrigerants in new or retrofitted food refrigeration equipment, large air conditioning equipment (chillers), and vending machines.
  • It will also ban substances used as aerosol propellants and foam-blowing agents in new consumer products.
  • This will be implemented over the next four years and HFC emissions are expected to decrease by over 20 percent of forecasted levels by 2030. Collectively, a total of 17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
  • Governor Cuomo stated that this action will help drive New York manufacturers to adopt cleaner products and innovate clean energy solutions that protect our health and natural resources, while also growing our economy.

The New York State HFC regulations complement a new $3 million initiative to develop new HVAC systems for buildings including the advancement and adoption of new refrigerants that are less damaging on the environment than their present counter parts. This initiative was developed by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA’s) Next Generation HVAC Innovation Challenge. The challenge supports clean energy companies that want to cultivate and validate new technologies that improve the performance of enhanced HVAC systems and create new opportunities that are economically sustainable for energy efficiency in buildings.

This funding will be offered through a competitive solicitation process to develop:

  • Advanced refrigerant monitoring and leak detection solutions
  • New compressor technologies
  • In-field leak repair solutions
  • Demonstration and evaluation of emerging technologies
  • Refrigerant capture and recycling
  • Industry collaboration on training
  • Market awareness and product requirements
  • And overall development of low-GWP refrigerants

While low-GWP refrigerant options exist, they are not widely adopted due to their flammability, toxicity, and performance. This has left behind a gap in the services and technology to bring these alternatives to scale.

The actions of this initiative also support the implementation of the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which puts New York on a path to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. As well, achieving its mandated goal of a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040 and 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030.

The CEO and president of NYSERDA, Doreen Harris, has stated that the absence of widespread availability for environmentally friendly refrigerants presents a considerable gap in the market that must be addressed in order have an impact in the fight against climate change. She says, “the Next Generation HVAC Challenge is about changing the market as we seek to limit HFCs in our environment and the way we think about cooling and heating our buildings, which will allow us to make significant progress towards Governor Cuomo’s ambitious climate goals.”

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