Ban on Production and Imports of Ozone-Depleting Refrigerants
In 1987 the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental agreement, established requirements that began the worldwide phase-out of ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). These requirements were later modified, leading to the phase-out in 1996 of CFC production in all developed nations. In 1992 the Montreal Protocol was amended to establish a schedule for the phase-out of HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). HCFCs are less damaging to the ozone layer than CFCs, but still, contain ozone-destroying chlorine.
HCFC-22 (also known as R-22) has been the refrigerant of choice for residential heat pump and air-conditioning systems for more than four decades. Unfortunately for the environment, releases of R-22, such as those from leaks, contribute to ozone depletion. In addition, R-22 is a greenhouse gas and the manufacture of R-22 results in a by-product (HFC-23) that contributes significantly to global warming. As the manufacture of R-22 is phased out over the coming years as part of the agreement to end production of HCFCs, manufacturers of residential air conditioning systems are offering equipment that uses ozone-friendly refrigerants.
R-410A has replaced R-22 as the preferred refrigerant for use in residential and commercial air conditioners in Japan, Europe, and the United States
R-410A (which contains only fluorine) does not contribute to ozone depletion and is, therefore, becoming more widely used, as ozone-depleting refrigerants like R-22 are phased out. However, it has a high global warming potential (2088 times the effect of carbon dioxide), similar to that of R-22. Since R-410A allows for higher system efficiencies than an R-22 system, by reducing power consumption, the overall impact on global warming of R-410A systems will be substantially lower than that of R-22 systems due to reduced greenhouse gas emissions from power plants