Original Date: 03/17/1997
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Chlorofluorocarbons in Chillers
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were developed in 1930, specifically for air conditioning usage. Since 1974, scientists have theorized that CFCs were depleting the Earth’s protective ozone layer and allowing ultraviolet light to penetrate through the atmosphere. As a result of CFCs and other ozone depleting material being released into the environment, government regulations were established in the 1990s to phase out all production use of ozone depleting materials. For years, CFCs have been used extensively as the prime cooling agent in mechanical cooling systems. Polaroid has 42 chiller systems, ranging in size from 150 to 2500 hp, of which 34 contain CFCs. In response to the stringent health and environmental issues associated with ozone depleting materials, Polaroid has taken corrective measures via replacement, conversion, and installation practices to eliminate CFCs from its chiller systems.
Polaroid’s corrective measures include developing a strategy for containment and monitoring of all CFC chillers; replacing older chillers which leak; reclaiming refrigerants; converting medium pressure units to HFC-134A; purchasing refrigerant for future use; and certifying HVAC technicians. To date, Polaroid has replaced six units over the past five years, converted one medium pressure chiller to HFC-134A, and installed 27 new, high-efficiency purge units. Future plans include replacing an additional 12 purge units, converting one large 2500-ton chiller to HFC- 134A, and replacing seven additional chiller systems.
Polaroid’s efforts have been consistent with its environmental plan to comply with government regulations and reduce environmental impact. The installation of new mechanical cooling systems with variable flow controls has also reduced energy consumption by 20%. Modernization of a single cooling system, initiated in 1991, has resulted in a savings of four million kilowatt hours over a three-year period or $300,000.
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