Refrigerant Management Program
As part of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a regulation in 2009 creating the Refrigerant Management Program (RMP) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from stationary sources through refrigerant leak detection and monitoring, leak repair, system retirement and retrofitting, reporting and recordkeeping, and proper refrigerant cylinder use, sale, and disposal.
The RMP is designed to:
- Reduce emissions of high-global warming potential (high-GWP) refrigerants from leaky stationary, non-residential refrigeration equipment;
- Reduce emissions from the installation and servicing of refrigeration and air-conditioning appliances using high-GWP refrigerants; and
- Verify GHG emission reductions.
The strategy of the regulation includes:
- Refrigerant leak detection and monitoring;
- Leak repair;
- Reporting and recordkeeping;
- System retrofit or retirement planning;
- Required service practices; and
- Refrigerant distributor, wholesaler, and reclaimer prohibitions, recordkeeping, and reporting.
High-GWP refrigerants such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and perfluorocarbons (PFCs) are used in a large variety of refrigeration and air-conditioning systems.
Nationally, ozone depleting substance (ODS) high-GWP GHG refrigerant production and importation phase-out (CFC and HCFC refrigerants), record-keeping, leak repair, technician certification, reclaimer certification, recovery equipment specifications, sales restrictions, and prohibition on venting is regulated by the U.S. EPA under Title VI of the US Clean Air Act (CAA). Rule 608 of the CAA was recently extended to include additional control of HFC refrigerants which aligns with California's RMP in numerous ways.
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) issued the related Rule 1415 in 1991 covering stationary air conditioning systems, and subsequently adopted Rule 1415.1 in 2010 covering stationary refrigeration systems (a precursor to California's RMP Rule, which took effect in 2011). Also in 2010 Rule 1415 was extended to cover high-GWP HFC refrigerants. The RMP is designed to complement the federal and SCAQMD regulations and provide better control of emissions of both ODS and ODS substitute refrigerants such as HFCs and HFC blends.
Recent global action to control HFC refrigerant use resulted in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, an agreement by all 197 UN Parties to phasedown HFC consumption. For the USA the agreement specifies a phasedown to 15% of baseline by 2036, with the first step-downs in 2019 and 2024. Signed on October 15, 2016, the Amendment was ratified in November 2017 and so takes effect globally in January 2019. An official list of frequently asked questions with more detail regarding the Amendment (Kigali Amendment FAQ) is available from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
In California a more rapid reduction in HFC use is required than specified in the Kigali Amendment in order to meet official state targets for GHG reduction, as determined by an analysis conducted by Research Division staff at CARB. Senate Bill 1383 (SB 1393, Lara, 2016) specifies a target of 40% reduction in statewide HFC emissions below 2013 levels by 2030. The measures needed to meet this target were developed first in the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Strategy (SLCP Strategy) adopted by CARB's Board in March 2017, resulting in the announcement of two HFC rulemakings as of March 2018.
Further archival background on the process of developing the RMP can be found here:
Information is also available in the RMP Help document, and the video below provides an overview: