GreenChill Regulatory Context
Phaseout of Ozone-Depleting Substances
Many of the more than 38,000 retail food establishments (such as supermarkets, grocery stores, supercenters, and wholesale clubs) in the United States use HCFC-22 (also known as R-22) as their primary refrigerant. HCFC-22 is an ozone-depleting substance (ODS), and it is subject to phaseout under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer Exit, an international treaty to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. EPA regulations under the Clean Air Act (CFR Part 82, Subpart A) lay out a schedule to phaseout the production and import of ODSs to meet the requirements of the Montreal Protocol.
On January 1, 2020, all production and import of virgin HCFC-22 was banned, with exceptions for export and for processes resulting in transformation or destruction. However, HCFC-22 may continue to be used to service existing systems for as long as necessary. For more information about the phaseout of HCFC-22, see Final Rule 2020 HCFC Allocation Fact Sheet.
EPA also bans the import of used HCFC-22 without prior approval from both EPA and the government representing the country of export.
Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, EPA has established mandatory leak repair requirements for refrigeration equipment that exceeds certain leak rates. In 2016, EPA amended Section 608 regulations, where among other requirements, owners and operators of certain leaking appliances must take corrective action such as repair, retrofit, or retire, within a specified time frame. In a rule published on March 11, 2020, and effective April 10, 2020, EPA rescinded the leak repair provisions for appliances that contain substitute refrigerants. Other requirements, such as hiring certified technicians and the evacuation standards, still apply to appliances that contain substitute refrigerants. To learn more, see: What Supermarkets and Property and Facility Managers Need to Know.
Supermarket Industry R-22 Use
Ozone-Depleting Substance Alternatives
Under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act, EPA reviews alternatives to ozone-depleting refrigerants. Alternatives are found acceptable, acceptable subject to certain conditions, or unacceptable under EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program. View a list of acceptable alternative refrigerants, for use in new and/or retrofitted retail food refrigeration equipment.