Response to comments received during the 2013 consultation on the draft Environmental Code of Practice for the Elimination of Halocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems

Theme
Answer

Approach / Structure of the Code

  • Organization
  • Repetition of information
Following the 2011 consultation, the Code was restructured to improve its organization and understanding. This was achieved by separating stationary refrigeration and air conditioning systems (stationary cooling systems) from mobile refrigeration and air conditioning systems (mobile cooling systems). Certain information was voluntarily repeated in more than one section to ensure the document is clear to the reader.
Applicability of the Code (with respect to the FHR 2003)

The Code is incorporated by reference in the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 (FHR 2003). The sections of the Code that are incorporated by reference are set out in section 9 of the FHR 2003:

  • 9(1) Only a certified person may install, service, leak test or charge a refrigeration system or an air-conditioning system or do any other work on the system that may result in the release of a halocarbon.
  • 9(2) A person who does any of the work referred to in 9(1) shall do so in accordance with the Refrigerant Code of Practice.

As per subsection 9(2), using the Code is legally binding on the person carrying out the work referred to in subsection 9(1).

The Code contains both background information and recommended best practices.

Applicability of the Code (with respect to provincial or territorial instruments)Each province and territory may have distinct and additional requirements. The Code is incorporated by reference in some provincial and territorial instruments (e.g., regulations, guidelines). Whenever possible, the Code indicates where there may be other requirements in addition to those found in the Federal Halocarbons Regulations, 2003. Persons subject to the Code and “certified persons” need to be familiar with the requirements to which a system is subject. They should consult provincial and territorial authorities regarding additional requirements. A contact person for each province and territory, as well as links to provincial and territorial instruments are listed on Environment Canada’s website.

Scope

  • Need for clarification
  • Regulatory burden

The Scope of the updated Code has not changed from that of the Environmental Code of Practice for Elimination of Fluorocarbon Emissions from Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems (1996). The Code applies to all cooling systems that are subject to the Federal Halocarbons Regulations, 2003 (FHR 2003), as stated in section 2 of the Regulations. Text was added in the introduction to the Code to clarify this matter.

This version of the Code does not add regulatory burden and the requirements found in the Code are aligned with the current FHR 2003 (leak testing frequency, reporting, etc.).

Some comments received suggested adding new requirements to the Code (e.g., leak testing containers, container stewardship, and inclusion of additional substances) or going further with existing requirements (e.g., training obligations and definition of owner). These comments will be considered as part of the FHR 2003 revision.

Revision of the FHR 2003

Some sections of the Code are not aligned with the proposed revisions to the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 (FHR 2003), presented in 2013 by Environment Canada. The consultation on the proposed revisions was the first step in Environment Canada’s regulatory process to revise the FHR 2003, with an objective to gather information. The proposed revisions were for discussion only. Updating the Code and revising the FHR 2003 are two distinct exercises.

Revisions to the FHR 2003 may lead to future revisions to the Code.

Some changes to the application and prohibitions sections of the FHR 2003 were recommended. These recommendations will be considered as part of the FHR 2003 revision.

Terminology(Glossary)

  • Need for clarification

A thorough review of the vocabulary used in the Code was conducted and required changes were made to ensure consistency with the Federal Halocarbon Regulations, 2003 (FHR 2003). For example, the word “remove” was replaced with the word “recover” when referring to the recovery of a refrigerant. Imprecise words (e.g., larger) and expressions (e.g., rule of thumb) were also removed.

The term “HFO” (hydrofluoro-olefin) was replaced with the term “unsaturated HFCs” (unsaturated hydrofluorocarbons).

Environment Canada no longer sees a need for a glossary or a definitions section in the Code because all the vocabulary used in it is widely known and used by the sectors subject to the Code. There is no discrepancy between the meaning of the terms in the Code and their definition in dictionaries. Including definitions for some terms may limit the Code’s usability or create conflict with provincial and territorial instruments that make reference to it.

Some stakeholders recommended that definitions for “small systems” and “large systems” be added to the Code. A definition for “small refrigeration system” and “small air conditioning system” was included in an Annex to avoid misinterpretation. These definitions and all terms included in the Code are consistent with those in the FHR 2003. Provincial and territorial authorities should be contacted for work conducted under their jurisdictions.

Reference to external documentsAll references to industry standards (e.g., Canadian Standard Association) were removed. Environment Canada believes that the sectors subject to the Code are familiar with industry standards and mechanisms are already in place to ensure awareness of other pertinent requirements.
Training requirements (availability, renewal, validity, expiration, etc.)

It was highlighted in the Code that, in the Federal Halocarbons Regulations, 2003 (FHR 2003), a “certified person” is required to successfully complete an environmental awareness course in recycling, recovery and handling procedures in respect of halocarbon refrigerants. Section 9 of the FHR 2003 prescribes what activities require a “certified person” to perform the work. The requirement for the environmental awareness course does not supersede or replace any obligation which may exist with respect to trade qualification or certification.

Provinces and territories may have other requirements. A contact person for each province and territory, as well as links to provincial and territorial instruments are listed on Environment Canada’s website.

Clarification in the design sectionAs suggested, text concerning decommissioning costs was added in the Life-Cycle Costing /Analysis subsection of the Code.

Technical aspects

Need for clarification

  • Corrections

Some technical statements were modified for:

  1. accuracy (e.g., the expression “V-belt” was replaced with “belt” as many belts are no longer of a V-belt configuration), and
  2. consistency (e.g., inconsistent recommendations were corrected).

Some technical statements were removed as they were applicable only to a few cooling systems. Some suggestions, in particular with regards to existing and available technologies, were incorporated (e.g., electronic leak detector).

The sentence: “Disposable cylinders only have a one-way valve and are not appropriate for refrigerant in a gas state.” was replaced with the following to reflect the text of the Federal Halocarbons Regulations, 2003: “A refrigerant must be recovered into a container designed and manufactured to be refilled and to contain that specific type of halocarbon.

The sealant section was changed considerably to clarify that sealants cannot be used in lieu of leak testing a system.

Inspection formsA sample checklist for inspections was not added because of the wide variety of systems available.
Service logsConcerns were raised with regards to additional administrative burden associated with service logs. Some modifications were made throughout the Code to ensure that the obligations are consistent with the requirements of the Federal Halocarbons Regulations, 2003.
ReportingNo changes were made to reporting because release report thresholds are set in the Federal Halocarbons Regulations, 2003 (FHR 2003). Recommendations to modify some thresholds will be considered as part of the FHR 2003 revision.
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