Article

How can companies address the climate impact of refrigerants?

To meet their climate goals, it’s crucial that companies account for the greenhouse gas emissions they are responsible for. The GHG Protocol provides tools that help, but they exclude an important, often forgotten part of the equation: halocarbons. To help companies account for and dispose of these substances with high climate impact, Tradewater has developed Refrigerant Solutions, supporting companies in accounting for and removing harmful refrigerants from their operations.
Companies trying to reduce their emissions typically start by inventorying the greenhouse gases (GHGs) associated with their operations. To do that, they often turn to the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, the authoritative source of methodologies for accounting and reporting on GHG emissions. As you work through the list of required gases to report on, you may be shocked to find two classes of high-GWP and ozone-depleting refrigerant gases, the halocarbons CFCs and HCFCs, omitted from this list. Why is that, and why is it important?
When accounting for greenhouse gas emissions, don’t forget the environmentally harmful refrigerants that many companies still use in cooling equipment
When accounting for greenhouse gas emissions, don’t forget the environmentally harmful refrigerants that many companies still use in cooling equipment


Why CFCs and HCFCs are omitted from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol

The GHG Protocol follows the national reporting guidelines for GHG emissions, established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. These guidelines are dictated by leading scientific developments and expert guidance, which commonly excludes CFCs, HFCs, and halons because of how they are already regulated through phase-out agreements such as the Clean Air Act and The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
However, as we highlighted in an earlier article, studies indicate that large banks of halocarbons are currently stockpiled in old or discontinued equipment all over the world, partly due to how the protocols lack an end-of-life mandate for these substances. Even though the production has been outlawed for some time, the potential emissions of remaining halocarbons globally is equivalent to about 21 million tons of CO2 if left unaddressed.

What can companies do to address the refrigerants in their operations?

Halocarbons like CFCs and HCFCs were commonly used in producing refrigerants, and these are still used in cooling equipment around the world. As the potential climate impact of refrigerants leaking into the atmosphere is so high, they should be included in companies’ GHG inventories. But how can they when there is no established protocol? At Tradewater, we have a solution.
To account for GHG emissions from refrigerants, you need first to take stock of the total amount of these gases, either applied in your equipment over a year or totaling the gases in the systems and stockpiles of your building or portfolio. This amount should be converted into metric tons, and then the amount of each refrigerant type should be multiplied by its global warming potential (GWP).
Each refrigerant’s global warming potential is different, and added together, they can have a significant impact on the climate.
Each refrigerant’s global warming potential is different, and added together, they can have a significant impact on the climate.


Refrigerant replacement and safe disposal

As you can see from the table, the GWP of each refrigerant can be quite significant, even at low volumes, and therefore it is important to include this in your GHG inventory and explore ways of replacing old refrigerants with newer, more planet-friendly cooling solutions. When you do so, the refrigerants need to be disposed of in a way that doesn’t risk leakage into the atmosphere. At Tradewater, we offer an easy and reliable process to collect your recovered refrigerants and transport them to our facility for processing and destruction.
Learn more about how Tradewater can help you manage your refrigerants in a climate-smart manner through our Refrigerant Solutions.


  • Chris Ndungu

    9 w

    This is a crucial work going on!

    • George Kariuki

      9 w

      Great work going on. Also this is very informative as it shines a light on a critical issue related to climate action and corporate responsibility.

      1
      • Munene Mugambi

        9 w

        @george_kariuki It's vital as it shines a light on a not so much known issue on emissions

      • Marine Stephan

        9 w

        Great work you're doing!

        2
      • Munene Mugambi

        9 w

        Refrigerants are greatly unaccounted for in reporting as no one remembers their adverse effects. Good to see one informing the public about this.

        4
        • Adam Wallin

          9 w

          I didn't know that refrigerants is mostly unaccounted for in GHG reporting, that's very surprising! Keep up the great work!

          6
          Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
          Post youtube preview with preloading
          youtube overlay

          Write or agree to climate reviews to make businesses and world leaders act. It’s easy and it works.

          Write a climate review

          Voice your opinion on how businesses and organizations impact the climate.
          0 trees planted

          One tree is planted for every climate review written to an organization that is Open for Climate Dialogue™.

          Download the app

          We plant a tree for every new user.

          AppleAndroid