Refrigeration and airconditioning - Consumers

Fluorocarbon refrigerants damage our environment

Did you know that the fluorocarbon refrigerant contained in airconditioners and refrigerators can be extremely harmful to the environment? In fact, 1kg of refrigerant emissions (R410a) has the same greenhouse impact as two tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of running your car for six months. That's why Australia has specific laws, to help protect the environment and minimise any further damage to the atmosphere.

Concerns about the depletion of the ozone layer exist because the ozone layer reduces the amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation that reaches the earth's surface. The ozone layer is also an important part of the global atmosphere-climate system in which present day living organisms, including humans, have evolved. Any significant change to this layer can have far-reaching consequences for human health. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and other ozone depleting substances are directly implicated in the depletion of the ozone layer.

Only use licensed technicians: A technician who holds a Refrigerant Handling Licence has the training and skills to minimise the emission of these refrigerants to the atmosphere.

It is an offence for anyone else to handle fluorocarbon refrigerants.

Use the ARC authorised business search to find authorised businesses in your area.

Australia's energy consumption

The MEPS (Minimum Energy Performance Standards) levels are mandatory requirements for certain products (including air conditioners, refrigerators & freezers) manufactured in, or imported into, Australia and are specified in the relevant Australian Standards. Everyone has a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Choosing an energy efficient appliance is one way to do this while also saving money.

Choose an energy efficient appliance. Look for the energy rating label, the more stars it has, the more efficient the product is.

The less energy it uses, the less it costs you to run and the less damage it does to the environment.

The science & background

Ozone is a naturally occurring gas, found mostly in a layer of the stratosphere 15-30 km above the surface of the earth.

Ozone depleting substances (ODS) are used in many industries. If emitted these substances break down the ozone layer in the stratosphere.

Synthetic greenhouse gases (SGGs) are most commonly used as replacements for some ozone depleting substances. While these gases do not deplete the ozone layer, most have very high global warming potentials (GWPs).

The Antarctic ozone hole is a dramatic thinning of ozone in the stratosphere over Antarctica each spring. This damage is due not only to the availability of ozone depleting substances in the stratosphere, but also specific meteorological conditions that facilitate the destruction of ozone over Antarctica.