Earth Day is a time to reflect on what we as individuals and HVACR industry professionals can do to lessen our environmental impact. The past year has placed an emphasis on the critical role of refrigeration in promoting human health, from the cold chain and food storage to vaccine distribution. However, we also must continue to focus on how we can improve the health of our planet.
Here are some things we can all keep in mind not just on Earth Day, but every day:
1. Consider the full impact of your system.
Using a low-GWP refrigerant isn’t the only way to minimize environmental impact. In fact, there is much more to consider, including overall system efficiency, leak reduction, installation, and proper maintenance.
2. Prioritize energy efficiency.
The GWP of a refrigerant only matters if the refrigerant leaks. Ensuring that your system is running at peak efficiency and with minimal leaks is among the most effective strategies for reducing your carbon footprint.
3. Maximize the life of your existing equipment.
Extending the life of your existing equipment will go a long way. Consider converting conventional systems running on legacy high-GWP refrigerants to operate on lower-GWP alternatives. Lower-GWP HFO and HFO/HFC blends are compatible with conventional systems, which have been optimized over decades and are familiar to technicians everywhere.
4. Pursue the impact you can have now.
Operators need to think critically about how to make the most significant impact in the immediate term. When it comes to refrigeration, this means transitioning conventional systems to use more sustainable refrigerants. Refrigerant operators can take cost-effective steps toward achieving their environmental goals by implementing retrofits in outdated systems rather than wait idly for the “holy grail” solution of the future.
Maintaining the health of the Earth and its atmosphere is a shared responsibility. The HVACR industry is committed to doing its part. Thank you for being part of this important effort.