ASHRAE, ANSI Update Refrigerant Standards

January 9, 2017 By Carl Weinschenk

refrigerationThe American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) last week announced the publication of updates to two refrigerant standards.

The press release says that the standards, which were promulgated in association with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), incorporate 30 new refrigerants and refrigerant blends.

ASNI/ASHRAE 15 is “Safety Standard for Refrigeration Systmes” and ANSI/ASHRAE 34 is “Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants.” ASHRAE refers to them as “sister standards.”

Dennis Dorman and Debra Kennoy, the subcommittee heads of Standing Standard Project Committees 15 and 34, respectively, jointly responded to emailed questions from Energy Manager Today on the importance of the updates. “These two standards give manufacturers, designers, building owners and other users the rules for refrigeration systems for cooling applications of residential, commercial and industrial installations,” they wrote. “The rules are further adopted by the building codes and enforce by state and local authorities at a later time.”

The press release outlines the changes. Standard 15 adds four addenda to Standard 15-2013, while Standard 34 incorporates 35 addenda to the previous version, which also was released in 2013. Dorman and Kennoy indicated that the process never ends. “These two standards are under continuous maintenance,” they wrote. “This means that they each standard is being changed on a continuous basis, responding to user requests and changes in technology. Change proposals are reviewed and voted on by each committee and undergo a public review process. Once approved, the changes are posted as official addenda to the existing standard. The combination of the current version of each standard and their respective addenda offers users a complete view of the standard at any time.”

Safety is a big issue in the new rules. Refrigerant leak detection is is a key element of that effort. GlobalInfoResearch published a report last month that points to a need leak detection gear during manufacture, installation and ongoing use of equipment that rely upon refrigerant. The major vendors worldwide vendors of leakage detection gear, the release says, are Inficon, Robinair, Testo, Bacharach, Elitech Technology, Ritchie Engineering, AGPtek, CPS and Fieldpiece Instruments.

Leakage is common challenge in the industry which, despite its age, is growing quickly. Research and Markets says that just the industrial segment will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.24 percent between last year and 2022. Its value will reach $23.22 billion at the end of that period, the report says.

Last summer, Contracting Business posted a story by John Wallace, the Director of Innovation for Emerson Climate Technologies Retail Solutions. Though it is aimed at contractors, the lessons are just as relevant to energy managers. The first element to understand is the size of the challenge:

According the EPA’s GreenChill research, the average supermarket has two to four refrigeration racks with approximately 3,500 pounds of refrigerant, and about 25 percent — or about 875 pounds —of its refrigerant supply is lost each year because of leaks.

Wallace outlines the environmental ramifications and the impact leakage can have on equipment performance. A good leakage prevention program includes detection, notification and continuous monitoring. The informative piece also includes a discussion of the types of leak detection technologies that are available.

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