The F-Gas regulations which came into force on 7th July 2011 forcing owners and operators – rather than suppliers or service companies – be responsible for the f-gases (greenhouse gases) used in their refrigeration equipment.
From this time owners and operators must get their refrigeration checked for leaks regularly, and ensure that anyone handling and servicing the equipment are fully certified. The 'f' in f-gas stands for fluorine, which is used in many refrigerants (including R134a and R404a) and is a powerful greenhouse gas. The Focus of the F-Gas regulations is to contain, prevent and ultimately reduce emissions of these gases, as covered by the Kyoto Protocol.
Refrigerants with GWP (Global Warming Potential) greater than 2500 will be banned from 1st January 2020. Importantly this includes refrigerant R404A which is the most commonly used refrigerant in commercial refrigeration with a GWP of 3922. The bands will be changed again from 1st January 2022 to include all refrigerants with GWP greater than 150. This will include R134a refrigerant which is the next most commonly used refrigerant with a GWP of 1430.