In 2022, the RTF contracted with DNV to perform a study to understand the potential impacts of low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants on energy efficiency. This work focused on three tasks (final memos linked below):
Prepare a summary of the federal and state requirements, with particular focus on the Council states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana) on production and consumption of high-GWP hydroflurocarbons (HFCs)
Based on application, summarize the potential alternative low-GWP refrigerant options in the market
Quantify the impact of the identified alternative refrigerants on energy performance of equipment
Overall, the study found that the AIM Act is the overarching federal regulation currently in place, but this does not necessicarily meet the needs of OEMs, end-users, and environmental groups who are asking for a uniform federal framework, such as the EPA SNAP 20 and 21. States have predominately focused on adoption of SNAP 20 and 21 framework, though uptake into law varies across the US, with Washington having enacted and Oregon expressing interest in pursuing laws. Regarding alternative refrigerants, the study identifies many low GWP alternatives to HFCs currently in the market, but these can either require a completely new system, have flammability/toxicity concerns, or potentially high capital costs. While alternative refrigerants in most cases offer improvements in energy efficiency, these tend to also have lower capacities than HFCs.