Energy efficiency

The main climate impact of refrigeration and air-conditioning is not directly linked to HFCs, but to greenhouse gas emissions from energy consumption. It can represent over 80 % of the climate impact and comes from CO2 emissions associated with the energy consumption of power equipment. Energy efficiency improvements can reduce these emissions, irrespective of the refrigerant used.

Energy efficiency is a key EU priority, with a target to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020. A longer energy efficiency term target of 27% reduction by 2030 was agreed in 2014 by the EU Member States. In many applications, HFCs can contribute to significantly lowering the associated CO2 emissions due to their performance, particularly in hot climatic conditions (compared to CO2).

The majority of heat pumps use HFCs as refrigerant. Their specific properties make them suitable for an efficient process contributing to energy savings. The safety properties of non- or low- flammability and low toxicity (see Safety Aspects), allow widespread HFC use in efficient designs. See also infographics on heat pumps.

 

Also in refrigeration and air-conditioning, HFCs are chosen because of their good thermodynamic properties and their adaptability to various operational conditions. They can be used across a wide range of application temperatures and are carefully selected to optimise system efficiency, from small individual air-conditioning systems to large industrial refrigeration units (see infographics on cold chain).

 

Finally, high quality high performance insulation improves energy efficiency primarily by reducing heat transfer. For building insulation, it reduces heat loss or heat gain which improves occupant comfort and can lower energy costs. For cold and chilled storage and transport, it reduces heat gain and helps maintain good temperature control.