How a business heats, cools and powers a building and their operations has a great impact on energy costs and the refrigerants that are used in these systems also bear a huge cost to the environment.
These costs to the environment are a good reason to move away from gas over to electricity, however, gas is available at a much lower cost – so does it make financial sense to make the switch?
Invariably developers will install the cheapest systems which from a capital cost point of view is gas + an A/C – HFC (refrigerant) chiller. Unfortunately, the cost of running systems like this is twice as expensive as an energy efficient integrated energy system powered by renewable energy.
Ongoing maintenance is also usually left out of the purchasing decision and if the heat and chill package includes HFCs then has the fact that these systems lose on average 20% of their refrigerant each year. In 2025, due to the phase out of HFCs the price of the replacement refrigerant is expected to increase by 500%. This is exactly what has happened in Europe as the phase out has happened 5 years earlier.
The global warming potential (GWP) of HFC and HFO refrigerants is high which is why they are being phased out in Australia and internationally. The Australian government introduced a HFC Phase Down in January of 2018 to help us meet our international commitments to the Kigali Amendment (The Montreal Protocol – 1987).
Refrigerants like R404A, R407 blends, and R410A are common refrigerant blends used in air conditioning systems. In businesses that use gas for heating and cooling, it’s important to bear in mind that these gas refrigerants are greenhouse gasses and have a high GWC and so they may incur a future cost to your business by way of a carbon tax.
The R-410A binary refrigerant blend consists of 50 percent HFC-125 (R-125) and 50 percent HFC-32 (R-32) by weight. R-410A has an ODP of zero and a GWP of 2,088. Both R-32 and R-125 are HFCs and have ODPs of zero because their molecules do not contain chlorine.
The most common refrigerant today, R-22, has a 100-year GWP of 1,810, almost 2,000 times the potency of carbon dioxide, so just one pound of R-22 is nearly as potent as a ton of carbon dioxide.
At SmartConsult, we provide energy efficient solutions for businesses and Government entitles to move away from gas. We are currently undertaking assessments for aquatic centres to address the heating and cooling with a Poly-Sourced Energy System. For example, these systems are a perfect solution for a new or retrofit aquatic centre. These may cost more initially but the operating cost savings provide an equal return on capital.