According to the Arlington, VA-based Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), an estimated 33,300 chillers are still using chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants, which were banned under the Montreal Protocol at the end of 1995. In 2004, manufacturers of chillers replaced or converted 2,753 units using the substance thought to erode the earth’s ozone layer.
In its annual survey of chiller manufacturers, ARI showed that U.S. building owners (as of Jan. 1, 2005) had replaced or converted 46,703 units – approximately 58 percent of the 80,000 CFC chillers in use at the end of 1995.
The following are a few benefits of non-CFC chillers:
- Reduced maintenance costs.
- Less electricity use.
- A 40-percent increase in energy efficiency over CFC chillers installed only 20 years ago (according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
ARI notes that the phase-out has been slower than expected and attributed federal tax laws (which require depreciation of the chillers over 39 years) as one reason. In response to this, Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) has introduced legislation, entitled H.R. 1241, the Cool and Efficient Building Act, to reduce the depreciation period from 39 years to 20 years for “any property which is part of a heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, or refrigeration system and which is installed on or in a building which is non-residential real property.”
This information was excerpted from the ARI website. To read the complete release from ARI, visit (www.ari.org/pr/2005/04-25-chillers.html).