European cooling body hopes to build awareness of best practice when using a range of newer to market refrigerants and accounting for their unique properties in cooling and AC systems
AREA has unveiled new guidance that introduces key features of the EN378 standard. EN378 outlines a number of considerations for the design, maintenance and decommissioning of refrigeration systems with a focus on improving understanding of best industry practice.
The introduction guide for the standard focuses on the challenges posed for refrigeration, heat pumps and air conditioning specialists when using an array of lower GWP refrigerants with some level of flammability or toxicity. This considers the impact of their use on charge size and safety requirements.
AREA noted in the guidance that compliance with the EN378 standard is intended to improve overall safety and limit the potential for accidents linked to cooling equipment.
The guide stated, “For all refrigerants there are risks associated with pressure, fire or explosion hazard, or toxicity; this means that both professionals and the public can be compromised if best practices are not followed.”
Refrigerants with high operating pressure such as R744 and the unique challenges this poses for pipe design, as well as higher and lower flammability gas are among topics covered in the guidance.
AREA added that although EN378 served as a means of proving conformity with several key European directives that impact cooling, the standard did not serve as a legal requirement on its own right.
The guide said, “It is possible to install a system in compliance with all relevant regulations, including the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) and the Machinery Directive (MD), without following the requirements of EN 378. It is also not a complete design guide for refrigerating systems.”
“It only addresses topics that are not fully covered elsewhere. For example, it does not give complete guidance on electrical safety, only on aspects which are relevant to refrigeration and which are not adequately addressed elsewhere.
AREA said that EN378 could be presumed to respect the design, construction, testing and documentation requirements of both the PED and the MD.