Parramatta City, Australia, has become the country’s first local government area (LGA) to require all new air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment to use refrigerants with a GWP of less than 10.
Through the city’s Development Control Plan (DCP), which came into effect in December 2022, synthetic refrigerants are effectively banned, with the majority of demand to be met by natural refrigerants like CO2 (R744), hydrocarbons and ammonia (R717).
“Synthetic refrigerant gases commonly used in air-conditioning systems have a very high GWP, [and] leakage or the improper disposal of refrigerant can be a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Parramatta City Council in its DCP. “Natural refrigerants generally have a much lower GWP, [and] using natural refrigerants will reduce the impact of the emissions from air-conditioning systems.”
“Natural refrigerants generally have a much lower GWP, [and] using natural refrigerants will reduce the impact of the emissions from air-conditioning systems.”Parramatta City Council
By acting to phase out high-GWP refrigerants, Parramatta City, located in New South Wales, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and future-proof new air-conditioning and refrigeration systems from the global phasedown of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.
The DCP dictates two exceptions to the ruling. The first is if low-GWP equipment cannot be “supplied on similar terms to conventional systems,” and the second is if it costs “more than 10% higher than the market rate for conventional systems.”
In addition to mandating a transition to under-10-GWP refrigerants, the Parramatta City DCP also requires action on reducing heat rejection from heating and cooling equipment and increasing the adoption of passive cooling solutions.
The NSW government has committed to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 under its NSW Climate Change Policy Framework 2016.
According to Climate Control News (CCN), the DCP has received support from several stakeholders, including Meriton – an Australian property developer – and Grosvenor Engineering Group – a local technical service provider.
Nicholas Lianos, Managing Director of Grosvenor Engineering Group, believes the business case for natural refrigerants in HVAC is strong, having already introduced dedicated support for the transition away from synthetic alternatives.
The company has already started working with several commercial property owners in the area to install natural refrigerant-based chillers, said CCN.