World Ozone Day, held on September 16, celebrates the success of the Montreal protocol and other amendments towards healing the ozone layer. The slogan of today’s celebration is ‘Ozone for life’, reminding us that ozone is crucial for life on Earth and that we must continue to safeguard the ozone layer for future generations.
The ozone layer acts as a shield, protecting the Earth from the harmful radiation from the sun and helping preserve life on the planet. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other refrigerants contribute to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. The thinning of the ozone layer is linked to many human health problems, such as skin cancer and damages to plant and marine ecosystems. To address these issues, the 1987 Montreal Protocol established an international agreement to phase out use of ozone-depleting substances. This also implies that new construction projects cannot install new CFC-based refrigeration.
Prodesign’s green building consultants and sustainability engineers are very much aware of the importance of preserving the ozone layer and usually work together with clients to implement the correct design and processes. We have acted as LEED consultant on numerous projects and as per the LEED Reference Guide for Building Design and Construction under section ‘Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite’, the intent is: To reduce stratospheric ozone depletion.
The requirements are as follows:
“Do not use chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-based refrigerants in new heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration (HVAC&R) systems. When reusing existing HVAC&R equipment, complete a comprehensive CFC phase-out conversion before project completion. Phase-out plans extending beyond the project completion date will be considered on their merits.
Existing small HVAC&R units (defied as containing less than 0.5 pound [225 grams] of refrigerant) and other equipment, such as standard refrigerators, small water coolers, and any other equipment that contains less than 0.5 pound (225 grams) of refrigerant, are exempt.”
The phaseout of the uses of ozone depleting substances has not only helped protect the ozone layer for the current and future generations but has also contributed significantly to global efforts to address climate change.
Image © UN Environment Programme
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