At the 30th Meeting of Parties of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer UN Environment Programme OzonAction and ASHRAE held a side event on Refrigerant Management Tools for countries operating under Article 5 of the Protocol. These tools were developed under a long-standing partnership between the OzonAction and ASHRAE. The side event was held on the first day of the meeting, and despite competition with other side events and contact groups it attracted a very good participation of 90 participants, from developed and developing countries, as well as Implementing Agencies, experts and other stakeholders.
The side event provided a background and overview of the refrigerant management tools that have been jointly developed for Article 5 Countries by OzonAction and ASHRAE. These tools are aimed at capacity building of National Ozone Officers, policy makers, refrigeration technicians and other stakeholders, facilitating the sound management of refrigerants and transition to alternative climate friendly technologies. The event launched new recently developed tools and initiatives.
Dr Sheila Hayter, ASHRAE President, in her opening remarks provided a brief introduction and overview of ASHRAE, its structure and membership, operations and activities. She stated: “The partnership between ASHRAE and the UN Environment Ozone Action Branch is how ASHRAE is able to directly support the Kigali amendments to the Montreal Protocol and help all nations move towards full implementation of these amendments. ASHRAE very much values its partnership with UN Environment Ozone Action and the opportunity this partnership has provided to engage ASHRAE in this critical global initiative.
Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Head of UN Environment Programme OzonAction, provided a brief overview of the work of OzonAction, particularly that relevant to supporting the refrigeration and air-conditioning servicing sector in all Article 5 countries. Dr Nair-Bedouelle described the range of tools and information materials developed by OzonAction for technicians, including innovative tools such as smartphone applications and training videos.She praised the excellent cooperation between UN Environment Programme and ASHRAE and the practical, usable tools developed that can assist developing countries in meeting their commitments under the Montreal Protocol. An overview of the highlights and key achievements of the ASHRAE-OzonAction Partnership was provided by Dr. Ezra Clark, OzonAction, providing a background to the launch of the new tools.
Ms. Shirley Sotto, the Montreal Protocol Focal Point of Costa Rica and W. Stephen Comstock, Manager of Business Development EMEA, ASHRAE, jointly launched the Spanish version of the Refrigerants Literacy E-Course which was developed under the OzonAction-ASHRAE partnership. The Refrigerants Literacy e-Learning Course is the first of its kind course on refrigerants for non- specialists and the English version was launched by the partners in July 2017. The courses include interactive activities, knowledge checks, audio and video, and a final test.The course is mainly designed for non-specialists in HVAC&R operation and servicing i.e. NOUs, policy makers, procurement officers, buildings owners, facility managers, etc, but is also recommended for HVAC&R engineers, consultants and technical people who wish to get an overall and holistic overview about refrigerants and its progression. Ms.Shirley Sotto said: “for Costa Rica, it has been an honour to have been selected to carry out the technical review of the Refrigerants Literacy E-Course translated by the ASHRAE and the OzonAction program, and we remain always willing to collaborate so that all these ‘knowledge building tools’ can continue to be developed and become available to all countries, especially those who are not English speaking”.
Mr Comstock then launched the 2nd E-learning course developed under the partnership, “Sound Management of Refrigerants”; an interactive web-based course that reviews best practices for key environmental issues, ASHRAE standards, and refrigerant applications including good service practices and issues related to new and flammable refrigerants. Mr Comstock explained that this course targets technicians, engineers, operators and contractors who in addition to the basic Refrigerant Literacy course need an in-depth training program for servicing air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.
During this side event, a new award recognising innovation in refrigerant management was launched. Mr Comstock explained that the ‘Lower–Global Warming Potential Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Innovation award’ will be an international award for innovative design, research or practice of lower-GWP technologies for RAC applications in developing countries.Its aim is to increase awareness of how sound refrigerant practices contribute to mitigation of climate change through recognition of those who conceive innovative technologies in refrigerant management as well as communication of innovation techniques through ASHRAE publishing vehicles, ASHRAE’s chapter/member network, and through the OzonAction Compliance Assistance Programme, Clearinghouse functions and Regional Networks of National Ozone Units.
All the Refrigerant Management Tools developed under this partnership are provided to developing countries at no cost.