ASHRAE, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are collaborating to fund research that will establish a more robust fact base about the properties and the use of flammable refrigerants.

This $5.2 million research program is part of an ongoing global effort to phase down the use of high-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and identify appropriate climate-friendly alternatives. Of the total, DOE is contributing $3 million, ASHRAE $1.2 million, and AHRI $1 million.

In anticipation of a global plan to phase down high-GWP refrigerants, the industry has spent the past five years researching potential alternatives. Through that effort, several promising refrigerants were identified, many of which are low toxicity but are classified as mildly flammable or flammable. This new research program will provide the technical knowledge needed to facilitate and accelerate the safe use of these refrigerants.

The results of this research will immediately be transmitted to the committees responsible for ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 15-2013, Safety Standard for Refrigeration Systems, and ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34-2013, Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants, with a goal of using the results to update the standards as soon as possible, subject to full compliance with the ANSI consensus process.

The International Code Council (ICC) has stated that these revised ASHRAE standards will be eligible to be fast-tracked into the international codes, in accordance with ICC procedures.