This is an easy prerequisite to meet, since installing equipment without CFC-based refrigerants is now standard practice in new construction. Nearly all industrialized nations have signed the Montreal Protocol, which called for a complete phase out of CFC-based refrigerants by 1995, and HCFCsHydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are refrigerants that cause significantly less depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer than chlorofluorocarbons. by 2030 in developed countries. As a result, compliant, environmentally preferable refrigerants that comply with this prerequisite are the only option available for new systems.
If existing equipment or a district chilled water system is being used, it must be CFC-free—or you (or the owner of the system) must commit to phasing out CFC refrigerants through refrigerant conversion or equipment replacement within five years of “substantial completion” of your project. In either case, the annual leakage rateThe speed at which an appliance loses refrigerant, measured between refrigerant charges or over 12 months, whichever is shorter. The leakage rate is expressed in terms of the percentage of the appliance's full charge that would be lost over a 12-month period if the rate stabilized. (EPA Clean Air Act, Title VI, Rule 608). of CFC-based refrigerants must be reduced to 5% or less.
If the owner of the district cooling system is unwilling to conduct a phase-out, while the economic analysis suggests that it should, in fact, be done, your project could forfeit LEED certification. In this case, you could install your own cooling system to achieve the prerequisite.
Generally, equipment replacement is economically feasible because older systems are far less efficient than newer ones. However, an exemption can be granted if a third-party analysis shows that the replacement or conversion of the system is not economically feasible by nature of having a simple payback greater than ten years.
Yes. Third party in this case means not the owner.
Yes, if you also avoid CFC-based refrigerants in any fire suppression systems.
If your project is using an existing HVAC system, investigate the type of refrigerant being used. If CFCs are being used, discuss equipment or conversion options with the building manager and owner.
If HCFCs are being used, find out which type, understand the implications of using that refrigerant over the long term and if using more environmentally benign alternatives is possible. Phasing out HCFCs is not covered by EAp3, but it will help in achieving EAc4: Enhanced Refrigerant Management, which is often worth pursuing.
If your project is purchasing new HVAC&R equipment, you'll automatically meet this prerequisite. The Montreal Protocol treaty mandated a complete phase out of CFC-based refrigerants by 1995, and HCFCs by 2030 in developed countries. As a result, compliant, environmentally preferable refrigerants are the only option available for new systems.
This prerequisite applies to all space conditioning and refrigeration systems included in the LEED scope of work, including:
The prerequisite does not, however, apply to small units and other types of equipment, such as refrigerators and small water coolers that contain less than 0.5 pounds of refrigerant.
For existing buildings, equipment installed before 1995 potentially contains CFCs. Check the specifications on the manufacturer’s website to be sure existing equipment does not contain CFCs.
If existing equipment uses CFCs and will be retained, prepare a phase-out plan for conversion to an appropriate CFC-free refrigerant or a plan for equipment replacement.
If your building is connected to a district cooling system, the chillers in that system, even if outside your project's scope or control, should be CFC-free. If they are not, commit to a plan for phase-out of the refrigerant or replacement of the system equipment within five years of project completion.
If your project is connected to a district cooling system and you want to show that a CFC phase-out is not economically feasible, engage a qualified, independent third party to prepare an analysis demonstrating that both conversion and replacement will have a net ten-year cost. This is determined by a simple payback calculation that subtracts the ten-year cost savings (from energy and maintenance savings) from the cost of the system replacement or conversion. If the number is zero or negative, this represents a cost after the ten-year period and the system will be considered not economically feasible.
If existing systems with CFCs need to be phased out, there could be a considerable first cost in converting existing systems or purchasing new equipment. However, your first cost will almost always be justified by longer-term energy and maintenance cost savings.
Consider attempting EAc4: Enhanced Refrigerant Management, which is attainable for many projects. Rather than simply avoiding a specific set of chemicals, EAc4 requires you to run calculations on your refrigerant selection that factor in leakage rates and coolant charge, as well as ozone depletion potential (ODP) and global warming potential (GWP).
Confirm that the selection of refrigerant in your project’s HVAC&R systems is CFC-free.
For existing buildings, confirm that the phase-out plan has been completed and preparations are being made for the installation of new equipment or for the conversion to a non-CFC refrigerant in existing systems before the project completion date.
For existing buildings that are choosing to demonstrate that the phase-out doesn’t meet the 10-year payback requirement, review and confirm the calculations of the third-party consultant that has provided them to ensure that all potential savings are included, from energy (with demand charges) and maintenance.
Complete your documentation through LEED Online by providing the HVAC&R equipment type, manufacturer, model number, installation date, and refrigerant used; state whether the equipment is for the LEED project only or from a central plant.
Specify high-quality equipment with a dependably long lifespan. That way leakage is minimized at those times that carry the greatest risks; when the equipment is being installed or decommissioned. (For information about the service life of different types of HVAC equipment, see the 2004 ASHRAE Applications Handbook—HVAC Applications. See Resources.)
Keep HVAC&R equipment cut sheets on file in the case that there is an urgent problem with the refrigerant in the equipment so that the refrigerant can be handled or replaced properly.
If phasing CFCs out of an existing system, follow through on your commitment to do so within five years.
Refrigerants are not harmful to the environment until they are released into it. That’s most likely to occur during installation, maintenance, and removal. Hire a contractor that uses best-practice refrigerant management techniques to minimize leakage rates during operations and when installing new or removing old equipment.
Excerpted from LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations Version 2.2
Reduce ozone depletion.
Zero use of CFC-based refrigerants in new base building HVAC&R systems. When reusing existing base building HVAC equipment, complete a comprehensive CFC phase-out conversion prior to project completion. Phase-out plans extending beyond the project completion date will be considered on their merits. Small HVAC units (defined as containing less than 0.5 lbs of refrigerant), and other equipment such as standard refrigerators, small water coolers, and any other cooling equipmentThe equipment used for cooling room air in a building for human comfort. that contains less than 0.5 lbs of refrigerant, are not considered part of the "base building" system and are not subject to the requirements of this credit.
When reusing existing HVAC systems, conduct an inventory to identify equipment that uses CFC-based refrigerants and provide a replacement schedule for these refrigerants. For new buildings, specify new HVAC equipment in the base building that uses no CFC-based refrigerants.
SNAP is an EPA program to identify alternatives to ozone-depleting substances. The program maintains up-to-date lists of environmentally friendly substitutes for refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, solvents, fire-suppression systems, adhesives, coatings, and other substances.
To determine the service life of a piece of HVAC equipment.
If you’re considering a conversion, this chart shows typical refrigerants types and conversion recommendations.
The table ranks commonly used refrigerants based on their life in the atmosphere which increases the GWP.
Article describing the movement towards Halon free chemicals with a comparative analysis.
Use this refrigerant management calculator to track and document your compliance with EAp3 and EAc4. You may also use the LEED Online credit form to document compliance, but that form has a finite number of rows, whereas this one can be expanded indefinitely. If you choose to use this calculator, add a narrative in LEED Online about using a supplemental calculator to complete calculations, and upload the document on LEED Online.
This template is the flattened, public version of the dynamic template for this credit that is used within LEED-Online v2 by registered project teams. This and other public versions of LEED credit templates come from the USGBC website, and are posted on LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. You'll need to fill out the live version of this template on LEED Online to document this credit.
Documentation for this credit can be part of a Design Phase submittal.
We have a project with a central plant with chillers that has R-11 refrigerant. An economic analysis has been performed by a 3rd party that states it is not economically feasible to replace the chillers within 10 years. We will also be providing documentation stating the leakage of the refrigerant is less than 5%.
Besides the backup documentation for the economic analysis and leakage rates, is there any additional information that needs to be provided? Has anyone used this compliance path and can provide us any details on comments GBCI has made during the review that can help us prepare to submit this prereq? We want to be sure we don't encounter any issues during the review, and if necessary, provide more documentation up-front to prevent any issues. Thank you in advance.
Building expansion is for a shop which services HVAC equipment. As such refrigerants will be stored on-site and used for servicing equipment. I assume that since these refrigerants are not part of the building systems, they are not included in this credit. Please confirm.
The intent of the credit is to reduce stratospheric ozone depletion by ZERO use of CFCsChlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are a compound of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine and fluorine, once commonly used in refrigeration, that depletes the stratospheric ozone layer. in NEW base building HVAC+R.
Thus, if these HVAC systems which are being worked on in the shop are not actually servicing YOUR building, or even being operated within your LEED boundary, I think its A-OK.
LEED should not give you a tough time about this. Perhaps submit a narrative in EAp3 concerning this.
The project in question is a newly constructed hotel. We were brought in halfway through the project and have been playing catch up and correcting earlier LEED mistakes. PTAC units using refrigerant with CFCsChlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) are a compound of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine and fluorine, once commonly used in refrigeration, that depletes the stratospheric ozone layer. were installed in the hotel's guest rooms. Does this refrigerant need to be completely replaced before submitting to the GBCI, or can we submit a non-CFC refrigerant replacement plan? What plan timeline & deadline do you think would be acceptable?
I would definitely think you need a phase-out plan that would ideally be completed by the time the project is completed.
The credit language says that phase-out plans extending beyond the project completion date will be considered on their merits. I can't speak from experience about what GBCI is looking for there, but it seems like you'd be safer completing the phase out sooner.
You might want to check that it is CFC ( R12) and not HCFC (R-22) CFC has been outlawed in the US for almost 20 years persuant to the Montreal Protocol. This is true in most other countries too.
The project in question will connect to a centralized plant servicing 10 buildings under one ownership. I've checked through "Required Treatment of District Thermal Energy in LEED-NC version 2.2 and LEED for Schools (Document 4176)". Their recommendation for EAp3 was to check the multiple buildings advice sheet. I duly searched that document and though it does say that all buildings on campus must be compliant to EAp3 it also says to refer to DES Guidance...which is Document 4176 unless there is another such document...in which case their advice travels in a closed loop. I understand the requirement for multiple buildings to be compliant for this prerequisite, but considering the existing plant could be quite old it seems a very stringent request, especially if the plant is supplying to multiple non-LEED-certifying buildings as well. Can you illuminate whether there is another DES Guidance document or add any advice? Thank you
Melissa, this comment has been posted for a long time without a response. I'm wondering if you have learned more since you posted it?
Tristan, I never received any reply from GBCI on this issue. In fact it now appears that for multiple reasons the owner will opt for stand-alone plant for this building--hopefully--so will eliminate the issue. But it would be interesting to know the answer in any case!
Could you please explain me what information is required on the uploads when is requested to upload the "Sales or Lease agreement"?
This information also is requested on other credits.
Jose, I don't see a requirement to upload a sales or lease agreement for this credit. Can you be more specific about where you're seeing this? Please confirm which rating system you're using, too.
While EAp3 only covers key ozone-depleting chemicals, EAc4 has more complex requirements that factor in global warming impacts from refrigerants.
More environmentally friendly refrigerants are sometimes less efficient, resulting in a tradeoff. Reducing your cooling load and modeling alternative scenarios is a way to proactively address this issue.
Cooling system design should take into account potential impacts on the thermal comfort of building occupants.
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