The German government has disqualified a number of HVAC&R systems using f-gases from being purchased by federal agencies, thereby favoring natural refrigerant alternatives.

The action was taken in September by the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action as part of the newly adopted General Administrative Regulation on the Procurement of Climate-Friendly Services (AVV Klima). The regulation went into effect January 1.

The government created a “negative list” that excludes products in multiple sectors from public procurement. As a significant user of energy and high-GWP refrigerants, multiple HVAC&R products are featured on this list. These include:

  • Refrigerators and freezers (including iceboxes and vending machines) and other stationary and mobile refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment containing halogenated refrigerants (if alternatives are available on the market).
  • Liquid chillers with more than 10kW (2.8TR) of nominal cooling capacity using refrigerants that have a GWP of 150 or more.
  • Multi-split/VRF air-conditioning units with more than 10kW of nominal cooling capacity. (Liquid chillers can be used as an alternative.)

In addition, aerosol cans (such as cold spray, cleaning spray and insect spray) with halogenated propellants (such as R1234ze(E)) and medium-voltage switchgear containing sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) are excluded.

Notably, the procurement regulation requires that federal agencies consider the entire life cycle of products and the equivalent emission of greenhouse gases. They must also take into account energy efficiency and environmental and climate protection. The new regulation thus supports the German Climate Action Law’s objective of climate neutrality by 2030.

Other European countries are also supporting environmentally friendly HVAC&R products in their procurement efforts. One example is the Nordic Green Public Procurement Criteria, a project to mitigate the impact of f-gases on global warming. It promotes the use of natural refrigerants rather than HFOs in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps (RACHP) as the default option for public procurement in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Faroe Islands.