On A High Note: Household Appliances Could Get Climate-Friendly Updates

Household Appliances Could Get Climate-Friendly Updates - HFCs

The safety standards for thousands of household appliances are set by the Switzerland-based International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). According to an unofficial announcement of a vote to update safety standards, it may become possible to swap out climate-damaging refrigerants used in air conditioners, heat pumps, and other appliances for ones that don’t leak greenhouse gases. Manufacturers would then be able to use hydrocarbon refrigerants with a minimal climate impact, instead of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are up to 6,350 times as potent as carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. The decision is estimated to save billions of metric tons of CO2 emissions by 2050 and help solve the ongoing challenge of emissions reductions as temperatures rise and more people need cooling.

While the vote would change international standards, it would not change US standards or local codes. Still, climate leadership is growing on a state level. The governors of Connecticut and Maryland passed their own climate legislation. Meanwhile, Washington state was the first to legally enact climate-friendly heating and cooling mandates to phase out gas-powered furnaces. And last August, the California Energy Commission voted on a plan that requires new buildings to have solar power and battery storage, particularly residential high-rises and commercial structures like hotels, offices, grocery stores, restaurants, theaters, schools, and convention centers. It would also require new homes to allow natural-gas heating and appliances to be transferable to electric sources.

DW: Refrigerants |The climate killer hiding in your kitchen, February 26, 2021.

EPA: Do I need to replace my AC or fridge? Understanding the new EPA rule on Hydrofluorocarbons, May 3, 2021.