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Clark's Remarks
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How Did You Spend World Refrigeration Day?

This year's new global holiday reminded our sustainability columnist that there is a lot going on in the world of refrigerants. Read on for some updates and a preview of more to come.

If you think that nearly every day on the calendar is now a special day for something, well, it’s not your imagination. 

Here in the U.S., we have National Hugging Day on January 21 (political candidates, use caution!). National Limerick Day is May 12 (a favorite of physicists: There was an old lady called Wright, who could travel much faster than light. She departed one day, in a relative way, and returned on the previous night!). National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day is November 15 (if you’re only going to do this once a year, I suggest OSHA Level A PPE). For the ones that we missed, the United Nations and others have also established some pretty serious International Days. For example, the International Day Against Nuclear Tests is August 29 (does that mean testing on any other day is OK?) and World Toilet Day is on November 19 (anyone want to hazard a guess?).

Not surprisingly, our industry has not been left out. Just last month, on June 26, the globe welcomed the inaugural World Refrigeration Day #WREFD19. According to the event website, the new day marks the start of an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat-pump sector, and to focus more attention on the significant role that the industry and its technologies play in modern life and society. "It draws attention to wonderful engineering and science that is all around us every day. Refrigeration is at the very heart of modern life. It enables people to live, travel and work comfortably. It saves lives. It enables people to achieve.”

The day has UN recognition, through the UN Environmental Programme’s OzoneAction division, and support among industry businesses and organizations is broad. Here in the U.S., HVAC organizations supporting World Refrigeration Day include ASHRAE and AHRI. But don’t feel too bad if you missed it…so did I.

But I won’t miss it next year. It’s been four years now since I last did an update on refrigerants, the lifeblood of refrigeration. What better time to revisit the subject? So look for it next June, on or around the second annual World Refrigeration Day. 

Summer Solstice: Honeywell last June introduced the Solstice N41 (R-466A), which the company claims is the first non-flammable reduced GWP (65 percent lower than R-410A) refrigerant that is as – or more – efficient than R-410A. This year, Honeywell chose World Refrigeration Day to announce a new strategic partnership with Midea Group, a major Chinese manufacturer of consumer electric appliances, HVAC systems, robots, and automation systems. Midea will replace R-410A with Solstice N41 in its central air conditioning equipment. Earlier this year, Toshiba Carrier also had announced that it would also replace R-410A with Solstice N41 in its HVAC equipment sold to the Japanese market. According to Honeywell, Solstice N41 will be commercially available later this year.

By the way, if you were reading my June 25th Clark's Remarks on the subway, you’ll probably want to learn more about the work of researchers in the Soil Mechanics Laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), a research institute and university in Lausanne, Switzerland, recently published in the journal Applied Thermal Engineering. They theorize that the high heat loads in a subway tunnel (trains, electronics, people, etc.) could be captured by a geothermal heat recovery system that could potentially supply heating and cooling to thousands of nearby homes. So, just think about that, subway commuters. Some day, as you’re sipping that Starbucks on the way into the city, you could actually be lowering your heating bill at the same time! 

A regular contributor to HPAC Engineering and a member of its editorial advisory board, the author is a principal at Sustainable Performance Solutions LLC, a south Florida-based engineering firm focusing on energy and sustainability.

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