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Switch to alternative refrigerants for commercial refrigeration warehouses


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

13.Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

SDG Target


Target Description

Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment

ETCH Procurement Process .png


•Establish a baseline for current refrigerant usage in business operations, including efficiency levels of current equipment, refrigerant types and quantities used, maintenance requirements and overall energy costs and determine global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion potential (ODP) of current refrigerant use.

•Use the baseline performance, industry standards, and best practices to establish a minimum efficiency performance standard (MEPS) that all new systems must meet. The MEPS should consider KPI’s such as energy consumption per unit of cooling, temperature stability, and reduction in GHG emissions

•Research alternative refrigerant options such as hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) or natural refrigerants such as carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3), hydrocarbons (HCs), propane, and isobutane

•Perform a cost-benefit analysis to compare alternative refrigerants with current refrigerants. Consider upgrade, retrofitting or replacement needs, ongoing maintenance costs, waste management, potential energy savings and initial investments for switching

Opportunity Identification 

Business: Reduces the risk of material scarcity and supply chain disruption due to increasing government regulations restricting the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Sustainability: Reduces potent greenhouse gasses with higher warming and ozone depleting potential, especially as the demand for refrigeration is expected to increase

Strategy Build & Execution

•Engage stakeholders: Include relevant stakeholders such as management, employees, customers, suppliers and industry experts. Outline the potentials and benefits of switching to sustainable refrigerants and address concerns of transitioning.

•Identify which sustainable refrigerant is best for your operations and complies with establish MEPS and evaluate if the replacement is capable of maintaining consistent temperatures and performance quality based on the ambient temperature. Also consider whether the alternative refrigerant will require upgrading, retrofitting or replacing current infrastructure and develop a rollout plan

•Consider collaborating with industry associations and organizations for support and guidance, and explore potential government support in the form of grants that could support the transition process

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

•Work with existing suppliers to identify if certain alternative refrigerants are compatible with existing operational infrastructure. Also consider the possibility of retrofitting existing infrastructure to ensure compatibility with alternative refrigerants

•Ask suppliers for information pertaining to the environmental impact of alternative refrigerants, including global warming potential (GWP), ozone depletion potential (ODP), and waste management practices to identify which refrigerant best align with the defined minimum efficiency performance standard (MEPS) and overall sustainability goals

•Consider technical support and maintenance needs for the lifetime of the equipment and technology as well as availability and lead times of alternative refrigerants to ensure consistent performance and continual operation

Supplier Performance & Management

•Monitor the new refrigeration systems to ensure that they comply with the established minimum efficiency performance standard (MEPS) and the chosen sustainability goal, such as a reduction in overall global warming potential (GWP) or ozone depletion potential (ODP)

•Work with suppliers to identify opportunities to improve sustainability such as incorporating technology that optimizes refrigerant use, such as leak detection capabilities, maintenance alerts, or automatic adjustments to temperature based on fluctuations in grid usage and pricing

Resource Links

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