The Bigger Context: Tracking Refrigerant Usage and Compliance Concerns
For many years, accurately tracking the what, where and when of refrigerant usage has been both a legal and moral duty for companies the world over, including and especially those in the United States, United Kingdom, and countries of the European Union.
Regulatory bodies have the power to levy fines running into the millions of dollars. In the US, although the Trump administration weakened some federal reporting requirements, many states have some sort of local equivalent, including the California Air Resources Board (CARB), who as recently as July settled a case with a major grocery chain to the tune of $5.1m.
The contraventions in this case were threefold:
- Failure to ensure detected refrigerant leaks were fixed within fourteen days by a qualified technician.
- Failure to accurately register and report their stores’ refrigeration systems
- Failure to maintain required records for at least five years
In this instance, CARB, which is widely recognized to run a world leading program in F-Gas management enforcement, was able to show that failures occurred over a sustained period of time, across multiple obligations.
So what types of organizations are impacted by legislation enforced by agencies such as CARB?
In California, for instance, companies operating refrigeration systems containing more than 50lbs (23kg) of refrigerant are required to:
- Conduct and report periodic leak inspections
- Promptly repair leaks
- Keep service records on site
For companies fitting this criteria, one of the problems is ensuring that all of your sites are also individually compliant. Unfortunately, this is one area that can’t be resolved with a specialized team at head office, and your level of corporate compliance is only as high as your weakest location. The duties placed on companies are therefore critical to continued commercial as well as environmental success.
In May 2021, the Biden administration proposed further legislation designed to cut HFCs by 85% over fifteen years, which is the equivalent of burning a trillion tons of coal1. Upcoming inter-governmental meetings such as the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow are also expected to commit to more ambitious goals to limit climate change, of which refrigeration/HVAC utilization is a major contributor. Understanding our current position, and having a base on which to build future initiatives is therefore key to keeping ahead of macro-political changes.
vx Sustain Can Help Mitigate Risk and Streamline Compliance
As we’ve seen, the cost of failure can be high, but what can be done to mitigate this risk and help ensure your company’s compliance in these areas?
vx Sustain from Accruent covers all of your obligations under various F-Gas regimes, including automatic reporting to CARB (where applicable). With vx Sustain, you can:
- Track all refrigeration assets
- Track and monitor gas inventory
- Track system events (refills, leaks etc)
- Calculate rolling leak rates
- Schedule maintenance
- Schedule System Integrity Checks
- Manage technician certifications
- Produce compliance reports
- Save 2-5% in refrigerant costs
… and more!
Our Enterprise Refrigerant Management system has been developed over a number of years in conjunction with major operators of refrigerated equipment, including global top ten grocers. Our mobile optimized applications enable your team to access critical reporting on the go, and, most importantly, dramatically reduce the risk of fines and prosecutions associated with poor refrigerant management.
Many companies are using vx Sustain to manage risk, ensure compliance, and protect the environment – we’d love to talk to you to see how we can help you, too!
Click here if you’d like to read more about how vx Sustain can help your business and to schedule a demo!