IIR document

Emissions and environmental impacts from air-conditioning and refrigeration systems.

Author(s) : CALM J. M.

Type of article: Article, IJR article


The impacts of air conditioning and refrigeration systems on stratospheric ozone are primarily linked to release of ozone-depleting refrigerants. Their contributions to global warming stem both from release of refrigerants and from emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) for associated energy use. Because the energy-related component has a significantly higher warming impact, phaseout of HFC refrigerants with less efficient options will increase net GHG emissions. The same conclusion applies for perfluorocarbon (PFCs), though they are less commonly used as refrigerants. Integrated assessment of ozone depletion, global warming, and atmospheric lifetime provides essential indications in the absence of ideal refrigerants, namely those free of these problems as well as safety, stability, compatibility, cost, and similar burdens. This study examines the trend in refrigerant losses from chiller use. It documents both substantial progress in release reductions and the technical innovations to achieve them. It contrasts the impacts of current refrigerants with alternatives and with the CFCs they replaced. The study examines the sensitivity of efficiency to charge loss. It also summarizes thermodynamic and environmental comparisons of options to show that phaseout decisions based on chemical composition alone, without regard to attributes of individual substances, can result in greater environmental harm than benefit.

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Format PDF

Pages: 293-305


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  • Original title: Emissions and environmental impacts from air-conditioning and refrigeration systems.
  • Record ID : 2003-0475
  • Languages: English
  • Subject: Environment, General information
  • Source: International Journal of Refrigeration - Revue Internationale du Froid - vol. 25 - n. 3
  • Publication date: 2002/05


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