New York HFC Regulations
Empire State Building; Image by mscamilaalmeida from Pixabay

New York State Welcomes Comments on Its Ambitious Proposed HFC Regulations

Written comments may be submitted until 5 pm EDT on March 19, 2024.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is accepting comments on its ambitious proposed rule amending regulations of HFCs, which would include GWP limits of 10 for many new HVAC&R systems by 2034 and help foster the adoption of natural refrigerant-based applications.

Notably, in new refrigeration facilities, regulated HFCs with a 20-year GWP of greater than 10 for equipment with more than 50lbs (23kg) of refrigerant would be prohibited as of January 1, 2025.

The original regulation – 6 NYCRR Part 494, “Hydrofluorocarbon Standards and Reporting” – was adopted in 2020 to backstop SNAP Rules 20 and 21 set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and align with states belonging to the US Climate Alliance.

The proposed regulation includes prohibitions, reporting, leak repair and other requirements regarding the sale, use, and supply of HFCs and new products and systems that contain HFCs. The goal of the proposed rule, said the DEC, is to help implement New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 40% by 2030 and by 85% by 2050, achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

“The proposed rule does not require anyone to replace existing products and equipment and will provide substantial energy savings.”

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

New York, unlike the EPA or other states, uses a 20-year GWP value for gases rather than the traditional 100-year GWP value. Its proposed HFC regulation is also more ambitious than rules set by the EPA, which has GWP limits of 150 for many refrigeration uses and 700 for air-conditioning and heat pumps. California also set rigorous HFC-reduction rules that surpass those of the EPA in some respects in 2020 and 2022. Washington State recently updated its HFC regulations.

Comments on the proposed Part 494 revisions and requests for further information can be sent to Suzanne Hagell at NYSDEC Office of Climate Change, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1030 or emailed to climate.regs@dec.ny.gov. Include “Comments on Part 494 HFC” in the subject line of the email.

Written comments may be submitted until 5 pm EDT on March 19, 2024. public comment hearing for the proposed Part 494 revisions will be held via electronic webinar on March 13, 2024 at 2 pm EDT.

According to local news site WKBW.com, dozens of Buffalo, New York-area business owners met recently to discuss the proposed HFC regulations, which some of them believe are too costly and should align with EPA regulations. The DEC replied that its HFC-ban timeline varies by equipment type, in recognition of the status of available alternatives on the market. “The proposed rule does not require anyone to replace existing products and equipment and will provide substantial energy savings,” the agency said.

Leading up to the proposal, New York State worked with consulting company Effecterra to convene a group of experts on natural refrigerants, with findings published last September in a report titled “New York State Assessment of Natural Refrigerants.”

New York State also has two funding programs for natural refrigerant equipment. The first is a demonstration program run with the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC) to support the installation of commercial refrigeration equipment. In addition, the Climate Smart Community grant program for local governments funds refrigerant-related projects and has supported the installation of multiple ice rinks with natural refrigerants.

Prohibition dates

Among the highlights of the proposed amendment to New York’s hydrocarbon regulations for newly installed field-charged systems and newly manufactured systems, including dates of prohibition:

  • Supermarket systems, remote condensing units, cold-storage warehouses and industrial process refrigeration: regulated substances (f-gases) with a GWP20 greater than 580 for equipment with refrigerant charge capacity of 50lbs or greater, January 1, 2025; f-gases with a GWP20 greater than 943 for equipment with refrigerant charge capacity of less than 50lbs, January 1, 2025; f-gases with a GWP20 greater than 10, January 1, 2034.
  • Stand-alone commercial units: virgin substances with a GWP20 greater than 10, January 1, 2028; all f-gases with a GWP20 greater than 10, January 1, 2034.
  • Ice rinks: f-gases with a GWP20 greater than 580, January 1, 2025; f-gases with a GWP20 greater than 10, January 1, 2030.
  • Chillers: f-gases with a GWP20 greater than 10, January 1, 2030.
  • Heat pump chillers: f-gases with a GWP20 greater than 10, January 1, 2034.
  • Residential and light commercial air-conditioning and heat pumps: virgin f-gases with a GWP20 greater than 10, January 1, 2028; f-gases with a GWP20 greater than 10, January 1, 2034.

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