SPLC Climate Friendly Refrigerant Action Team


Join the SPLC Climate-Friendly Refrigerant Action Team! 

SPLC has partnered with the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD) to prototype procurement that rapidly transitions markets to climate-friendly refrigerants and higher energy efficiency. The prototype can be used immediately and refined over time.

The ambition of the Action Team is to avoid products containing hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants that were once necessary to rapidly protect the stratospheric ozone layer but are no longer needed now that environmentally superior technology is available or soon to be available. HFCs are super-greenhouse gases (GHGs) with global warming potentials (GWPs) thousands of times higher than carbon dioxide and produced and emitted in such high volumes that elimination can avoid up to 0.5° Centigrade (C) of global warming by 2100, and another 0.5° C if energy efficiency is enhanced during the transition to next-generation technology.

The Refrigerant Action Team will 1) work quickly via e-mail and web conferencing to develop a working document; 2) circulate that draft for peer review by experts from the state governments where HFC legislation is already in place and where legislation is pending; and 3) finalize the prototype procurement for presentation at the May 18-20, 2020 SPLC Summit in Atlanta. Contact: Johanna Anderson, johanna@sustainablepurchasing.org, (415) 297-9991

Proposal to Write Model Procurement Text to Avoid Obsolete Refrigerants and to Encourage Next-Generation Climate Friendly Refrigerants and Enhanced Energy Efficiency

A Partnership of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) and  the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD)


Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are ozone-safe alternatives to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants that are being phased out from production and consumption under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) with emissions controlled and reported by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Kyoto Protocol. 

Although HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs) they are generally less damaging to climate that the CFCs and HCFCs they replace. For example, the original refrigerant for automotive air conditioners was CFC-12 (ozone depleting; global warming potential (GWP)=10,200), which was replaced with ozone-safe HFC-134a (GWP=1300), which is now being replaced with ozone-safe hydrofluoroolefin (HFO)-1234yf (GWP<1). The next-generation is ozone-safe R-152a (GWP=138) with energy efficiency so much higher than HFO-1234yf that the life cycle carbon footprint is lower despite the difference in GWP.  

Globally, HFC emissions are controlled under the Kyoto Protocol and HFC production and consumption are controlled under the Montreal Protocol. Regionally, HFCs are controlled in the European Union with caps on GWP and phaseout dates according to sectorial application. In the United States HFCs are regulated as alternatives to ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) under the Clean Air Act and its ‘Significant New Alternatives Policy Program’ (SNAP) and will be further regulated once the Kigali Amendment is ratified by the Senate or implemented under domestic legislation intended to phase down HFCs in alignment with the Kigali Amendment.[1] 

In addition, The United States Climate Alliance with 24 member states[2] representing over 50% of the US population and 60% of US gross domestic product (GDP) has committed to reducing short-livedclimate pollutants (SLCPs), including HFCs.So far, California,[3] Vermont,[4] and Washington[5] have passed legislation to limit HFCs based on EPA’s SNAP rules, and Connecticut,[6] Delaware,[7] Maryland,[8] and New York[9] have committed to similar regulatory action. In June 2019, legislation adopting EPA SNAP rules was introduced in New York and New Jersey.[10] 


Life Cycle Analysis Integrates Refrigerant and Energy Impacts for Lowest Carbon Footprint

The life cycle carbon footprint of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment is the sum of the climate forcing from refrigerant emissions (GWP and amount emitted), plus the climate forcing from the energy necessary for operation (carbon intensity of energy and energy used), and the climate forcing embodied in the refrigerant and equipment manufacture, transportation, service, and recycling at end of product life. 

This model procurement text applies simple calculations that can be fine-tuned over time to account for local climate and energy mix, etc.

Procurement Approach

The proposal is to put in place model language to spotlight the opportunity to avoid obsolete HFC refrigerants and to encourage more climate friendly alternatives implemented to cost-effectively increase energy efficiency. 


1.      Allowing procurement officials to avoid purchasing products using obsolete high-GWP HFCs in specific applications where there is no technical, environmental or economic justification for that refrigerant use.

2.      Providing specific guidance on how to find out if products contain high-GWP HFCs.

3.      Linking to sample product lists for energy efficient products that use low-GWP HFCs or HFC alternatives.

4.      Offering a simple formula to compare the life cycle carbon footprint of competing products with different refrigerant GWP and energy efficiency.

5.      Guiding the choice of preferred next-generation low-GWP refrigerants.


Johanna Anderson, Member Success Manager, SPLC


Phone:  (202) 607-2600 xt. 110

Mobile:  (415) 297-9991


Stephen O. Andersen, Director of Research, IGSD


Mobile: (202) 255-3733             


[1]The “American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIMA S. 2754)” (lead sponsors Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) and Senator Thomas Richard Carper (D-DE) introduced in November 2019 would direct EPA to initiate a 15-year HFC phase-down using the same approach as successfully used to phase-out ODSs. AIMA already has broad support across the business and environmental communities and bipartisan support in Congress including from the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy (Alliance), the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the US Chamber of Commerce; each representing hundreds of small and large companies in the stationary and mobile air conditioning and many other sectors.

[2] California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin

[3] ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/hfc-reduction-measures/california-significant-new-alternatives-policy-snap.






[9]https:\www.governor.ny.gov\news\governor-cuomo-directs-dec-phase-out-use-hydrofluorocarbons-new-york- state.