Equipment with Coolant Gas or Insulating Foam

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gas)and ozone delpeting substances (ODS)

The Earth's atmosphere contains a range of naturally occurring gases, known as greenhouse gases, that absorb heat from the sun and help to make the planet inhabitable. Man-made flouorinated gases, often called F-gases are much more powerful in this than naturally occurring gases and research has shown that their presence in our atmosphere contributes significantly to global warming.

The ozone layer in our atmosphere also acts as a protective filter against the harmful UV radiation from the sun. ODS in the upper atmosphere cause this protective layer to break down resulting in more UV reaching the Earth's surface with the potential to cause harm to human health and to the environment.

These man made substances have been widely used in refrigeration, air conditioning, heatpump and fire supression technology and may be in this type of equipment within the University. You should also note that some older equipment, including refrigeration equipment, may also contain foam that contains this type of harmful substances and that these can be released if the foam is damaged.

A range of legislation has been introduced to regulate these substances so as to reduce their release into the environment.

It is essential that care is taken to ensure that equipment containing these materials is not damaged, resulting in their release, and that it is not disposed through the normal waste stream but is disposed through the University supplier.

It is also essential that all repair and maintenance to this type of equipment is carried out by fully qualified personnel, this can be achieved by using a University approved supplier.

Key aspects of the legislation that apply to these substances are:

  • Equipment containing these substances must be regularly cheched for leaks
  • The refrigerant gases must be recovered during any servicing or maintenance procedure and also at the end of life of the equipment
  • Personnel who work on equipment containing these substances must comply with prescribed qualification requirements

Further information is available in the SEPS Guidance Note on fluorinated greenhouse gases