The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will propose a new rule to limit hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, in some products including refrigeration, air conditioning, and heat pump equipment, the agency announced Friday. The proposed rule will be published in the Dec. 15 Federal Register.
“This proposal will support a transition away from super-pollutant HFCs in key sectors of our economy while promoting American leadership in manufacturing of new climate-safe products,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement.
The rule is being proposed under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020 and authorizes EPA to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs. The rule will focus on the transition to HFC alternatives through sector-based restrictions.
Impacted sectors include residential and light commercial air conditioning and heat pump systems, residential refrigeration systems, foam-blowing applications and aerosol products.
“American consumers are expected to benefit from the transition to environmentally safer alternatives and more energy-efficient cooling technologies,” according to an EPA fact sheet on the rule. The agency estimates the rule will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 35 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, while also saving industry and consumers $8 billion through 2050.
The cost savings “largely result from improved energy efficiency and lower cost refrigerants,” EPA said.
The use of heat pumps is expected to grow as the U.S. electrifies more energy end uses. Heat pumps will be the most affordable way to heat most single-family homes using clean energy in the U.S. in 2030, according to a July study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.