A refrigerant gas used to cool some of the island’s industrial spaces, commercial spaces and homes is being phased out.
The move is in line with the Montreal Protocol of 1987, designed to reduce ozone depletion, and is likely to affect local supplies, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“Those with heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems which use R-22 may be best served by changing to a non-ozone-depleting gas in the near future,” a statement said.
“Industry stakeholders and those with permits to handle refrigerant gases have been aware for some time that hydrochlorofluocarbons (HCFCs) would be phased out internationally, including a refrigerant gas commonly used in older HVAC systems in Bermuda, called R-22.”
The statement added that manufacturing has also been affected, with a tightening of requirements necessary before the gases can be exported.
“In addition, an amendment to the original protocol has not been extended from the UK to Bermuda and other Overseas Territories.
“The OTs are required to ratify the amendments before this extension from the UK can be provided. As a result, the original manufacturers of HCFCs cannot send gases to Bermuda until this extension process has been completed.”
While HCFCs can still be bought from other suppliers after approval by the Environmental Authority, this is expected to cost more.
“The department is currently working to complete this ratification of the amendment to the original protocol so it can be extended from the UK,” the statement added.
“In the interim, the department advises that consumers installing new HVAC systems ask for non-ozone-depleting refrigerant gases and encourage existing customers who have R-22 based systems to consider changing them to non-ozone-depleting refrigerant gases.
“It is also important to note that there are some compliant refrigerant gases that can be substituted in existing R-22 systems without the need to replace blowers, condensers and associated pipework.
“An HVAC supplier’s service personnel should be able to advise on any compatibility issues.”