2024 International Codes Integrate Lower Emission Refrigerants to Meet Federal HFC Phase Down

A broad coalition of industry, environmental, governmental, and code development organizations encourage early adoption by states and localities of the 2024 International Building Code (IBC), International Fire Code (IFC), and International Mechanical Code (IMC), which now permit the use of A2L refrigerants. The recently approved code changes allow commercial and residential use of A2L refrigerants to replace high global-warming-potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants.

The supply of HFCs, commonly used in refrigeration and air-conditioning, will decrease 40 percent in 2024 due to the bipartisan American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act) of 2020 and the corresponding Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that mandate a phasedown in GWP refrigerants by 2036. Most of the remaining supply will be used to service existing equipment currently installed in homes and businesses. The 2024 I-Code changes facilitate compliance with these requirements and support producers and refrigerant appliance manufacturers already transitioning to lower-GWP solutions such as A2Ls.

“State and local governments need to act now to enable next-generation refrigerants before older options get phased out,” said Matt Sigler, the Code Council’s PMG Executive Director. “The Code Council stands ready to partner with the construction industry to help them best navigate this positive change.”

Several major organizations, including the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), provided more than 7 million dollars to research and field test new, low GWP refrigerants, determining that A2L refrigerants are safe and effective replacements for the HFCs currently in use.

“We are very pleased with the Code Council’s support towards the use of next-generation refrigerants in vital HVACR equipment,” said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek. “The entire supply chain must be ready for the 2024 reduction in supply. We are hopeful that this action, which validates the critical AHRI research into these new refrigerants, will spur states and localities to update their codes on an urgent basis to enable their use.”

Here are a few things jurisdictions should do right now:

“It is very encouraging to see the ICC’s great progress in adopting updated model codes for alternative refrigerants,” said Christina Theodoridi, Senior Policy Analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “This is a critical step to enable climate-friendly cooling in our homes, office buildings, schools, supermarkets, and more. Our work isn’t done yet. State and local code officials shouldn’t waste any time adopting the new codes in their respective jurisdictions.”

“Jurisdictions that adopt ICC codes can be confident that their citizens are protected by the best and most up-to-date standards. We applaud the way ICC has embraced technology-neutral, cost-effective, climate-friendly refrigerant alternatives,” said Kristen Taddonio, Senior Climate and Energy Advisor for the Institute for Governance of Sustainable Development (IGSD).

Additional organizations supporting the AIM Act and its implementation include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Chemistry Council.

Source: International Code Council

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