July 10, 2006

Proposed change to ODS reg targets large CFC-based refrigeration, A/C units, chillers

A proposed amendment to Ontario's refrigerants regulation (O Reg 189/94) would require owners of large chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-based industrial, commercial and institutional (IC&I) refrigeration and air conditioning (A/C) units and chillers to replace them or retrofit them to be more energy efficient and use alternative refrigerants.

The ban on refilling large refrigeration or A/C units (defined as having a compressor with a power rating of 30 horsepower or more) would take effect January 1, 2009. The conversion or replacement of all CFC-containing chillers upon the first major overhaul would also be required as of that date. A total ban on the operation of all CFC-containing large units and chillers would take effect January 1, 2012.

Another provision of the proposed amendment would require wholesalers to take back CFC refrigerants at no charge. The aim is to encourage the development of industry-run stewardship programs for the safe collection, transportation, storage and disposal of CFCs, with wholesalers as the entry point to such programs. In addition, a six-month storage deadline would be set for surplus CFC stocks recovered from equipment or accepted by wholesalers. This is intended to ensure that these surpluses enter a safe and proper management pathway. CFCs are due to be designated as a hazardous waste on July 1, 2012.

New technology is up to 50% more energy-efficient and is less expensive to maintain and operate. Many owners have already replaced old equipment to take advantage of the energy and cost savings. If a chiller owner is already planning a replacement, the owner may submit a plan to the Ministry of Environment. The plan will be due by January 1, 2009 and the replacement work must be completed before January 1, 2011.

The proposed regulation is part of Ontario's CFC phaseout plan. The refrigerants regulation is one of five ozone-depleting substance (ODS) regulations under the provincial Environmental Protection Act. The amendments have been posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry for a 60-day comment period running to August 26, 2006. (www.ene.gov.on.ca, registry reference No RA06E0004).

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