R22 Replacement

R22 - " a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) commonly used in air conditioning, process chiller and industrial refrigeration plant applications "

R22 Replacement - The Legislation and Options

Why is it being phased out?

Recent legislation changes has led to the phasing out of this refrigerant as the release of HFC compounds into the atmosphere is harmful to the protective ozone layer.

When will it be phased out?

From 1st January 2004 heat pump equipment that used R22 refrigerant is no longer manufactured.

After 31st December 2009, it is illegal to use virgin R22 refrigerant gas for service and maintenance of air conditioning systems.

From 1st January 2015 the use of all HCFCs including recycled materials will be banned.

Stock piling of virgin and reclaimed HCFC R22 will also be illegal.

The Problems faced

Demand for recycled R22 is expected to increase. The industry only reclaims 10 to 15% of the amount of R22 required to maintain current systems, therefore, rising demand may increase the cost of reprocessed R22 making system maintenance expensive.

There is also the risk of long down time when no R22 is available causing cost and disruption to the working environment.

Energy Efficient Replacement options

By far the most environmentally responsible solution is to completely replace existing HCFC R22 equipment with modern HFC based alternatives. Up to a 30% increase (and in some cases over) in efficiency can be achieved with new refrigerant R410A inverter air conditioning in comparison to the older style R22 equipment. Increased efficiency equates to less energy consumption, lower subsequent energy costs and lower CO2 emissions.

Tax incentives

Most replacement systems will attract tax incentives such as Enhanced Capital Allowance.

Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs) are a straightforward way for a business to improve its cash flow through accelerated tax relief. The ECA scheme for energy-saving technologies encourages businesses to invest in energy-saving plant as specified on the Energy Technology List (ETL) which is managed by the Carbon Trust on behalf of Government.

The ECA scheme provides businesses with 100% first year tax relief on their qualifying capital expenditure.

The Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) offers 100% tax breaks (equal to ECA) available for most new equipment investments up to £100,000 a year (increased this year from £50,000) and the purchases do not need to be listed on the Energy Technology List (ETL).

The AIA is effectively a 100% first-year allowance for business expenditure on almost all plant and machinery (apart from cars) capped at £100,000 a year. It is available to businesses regardless of their size or legal form and applies to expenditure incurred on or after 1st April 2010 for businesses liable for corporation tax (CT), and or after 6th April 2010 for businesses liable for income tax.

Cost effective solutions

Building Services Associates will be pleased to survey free of charge your existing R22 equipment and offer a modern cost effective solution.

Information sheet RAC-8 on Legislative Update and Strategies for HCFC Phase-out can be obtained from the DEFRA website.

Interest Free Energy-Efficiency Loans

The energy-efficiency loans from the Carbon Trust are a cost effective way to replace or upgrade your old wasteful existing equipment with a more energy efficient system. The loan scheme is designed so that anticipated energy savings offset the repayments of the loan, which means the equipment should pay for itself and you should continue to make savings year on year.

Small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that meet the qualify criteria could borrow from £3,000 to £500,000 depending on the amount and type of energy saved. It is government funded, unsecured and interest free.

Applying is straight forward - further details can be obtained from the Carbon Trust website.