Deadline to register refrigeration systems approaches
SACRAMENTO - An important registration and reporting deadline for owners and operators of facilities with non-residential refrigeration systems is approaching.
The deadline is for facilities with refrigeration systems using high global warming potential refrigerants that have a full charge of at least 200 pounds and less than 2,000 pounds. These are designated as “medium-sized” systems under a California state regulation to minimize leaks of environmentally harmful refrigerants.
Companies must register their refrigeration system with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) by March 1, 2014, if the single largest system at an individual facility has a full charge of 200 pounds or more of the following refrigerants: chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) or hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The online registration and reporting tool, known as the "Refrigerant Registration and Reporting System," or R3, is available at http://www.arb.ca.gov/rmp-r3. Additional information and training webinars on how to use the tool are available on the program’s website.
Facilities with smaller refrigeration systems with a full charge of greater than 50 pounds and less than 200 pounds of high global warming potential (high-GWP) refrigerant are not required to register until 2016. However, these systems are subject to leak inspection, repair and recordkeeping requirements of the rule in effect now. Facilities with large refrigeration systems with a refrigerant charge of 2,000 pounds or more should already be registered and must continue to submit annual reports to ARB.
California’s Refrigerant Management Program (RMP) is designed to reduce emissions and leaks from non-residential refrigeration systems. The state program was adopted by the ARB in 2009 and went into effect in 2011. Refrigerants are potent greenhouse gases, more than a thousand times more capable of trapping heat in the atmosphere than an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas.
It is important to note that refrigeration systems using refrigerants such as ammonia and carbon dioxide are not subject to the rule since those refrigerants are not classified as high global warming substances. Air conditioning systems used exclusively for cooling occupants of a building (known as “comfort cooling”) also are not required to register.
Businesses that commonly have refrigeration systems with high-GWP refrigerant include supermarkets and grocery stores, food and beverage processors, cold storage warehouses and industrial process cooling.
Businesses that do not commonly have these types of refrigeration systems include bars and restaurants, gas stations, liquor stores, small bakeries and office buildings.
A business can determine the refrigerant charge of their refrigeration system(s) by contacting the manufacturer or their refrigeration system service provider.
Failure to register applicable refrigeration systems may result in site inspections, notices of violation, and cumulative daily penalties.
Though costs will vary from facility to facility, the leak detection, monitoring and repair requirements of the rule are expected to result in overall cost savings. Identifying and repairing leaks promptly reduces the need to buy costly refrigerant to refill the system.
For more details on the rule applicability and requirements, please review Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) available at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/reftrack/rmpfaq.pdf.
For additional information about the Refrigerant Management Program, please visit: http://www.arb.ca.gov/StopRefrigerantLeaks. If you have questions regarding RMP registration and reporting requirements, you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the RMP Helpline at (916) 324-2517.