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Home » AREA annual report outlines organisation’s training and F-gas priorities

AREA annual report outlines organisation’s training and F-gas priorities

European cooling body AREA has published its 2022 annual report that details the organisation’s recent work to better ensure the RACHP sector can meet environmental and training aims.

Chillventa 2022.Photo by Benjamin Brits/Cold Link Africa
Chillventa 2022.Photo by Benjamin Brits/Cold Link Africa

Regulatory reform, global collaboration on training and the full-fledged return of major trade events were highlighted among the main developments impacting the European cooling sector in 2022.

The AREA European cooling association said in its 2022 Annual Report that the review of the F-Gas Regulation in the EU has been a critical part of its work over the last year. The review has led on to critical discussions that are now underway on proposals to accelerate the existing HFC phasedown scheduled under the EU F-Gas Regulation.

AREA president Coen van de Sande said that the organisation had been “very active“ during 2022 and also this year in sharing the views of its members on the planned reforms of the flagship refrigerant legislation.

While AREA has been among a number of trade bodies working across the RACHP sector calling for the European Parliament to rethink its preferred approach to phasedown reforms, the group said that it had also been advocating for expanding F-Gas requirements to all refrigerants.

Van de Sande said AREA would therefore welcome mandatory certification for using alternative lower GWP refrigerants, while also ensuring that the entire industry was required to undertake leak checks on systems.

He stated in the report: “In addition to mandatory certification on alternative refrigerants, AREA calls for extending article 5.1 ‘leak checking’ of the F-Gas Regulation to RACHP systems charged with alternative refrigerants.”

“Leak checking is absolutely required to keep our contractors and their customers safe and to be sure that these systems will keep on operating at maximum energy efficiency.”

The reformed F-Gas regulation should also do more to address the illegal trade of refrigerants that risk undermining the F-Gas regime, AREA stated. Outside of regulatory reform, the association’s report also welcomed the return of the Chillventa trade show as a physical event last October for the first time in four years.

AREA said it had hosted a conference at the show focused on the future of RAC training and certification in the EU. The conference brought together leading experts to discuss how progress can be made in tackling skills issues in the sector.

Van de Sande noted that the organisation had also been involved at the event on panels looking at the work of the recently formed International Woman in Cooling Network (INWIC) with the aim to improve diversity in the sector.

Refrigerant Driving License

AREA said another important part of its work in 2022 was its cooperation with both the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) in the US on the Refrigerant Driving License (RDL) for developing countries. The project is devised to create a global standard of safe refrigerant handling, on behalf of UNEP.

Van de Sande said: “AREA is responsible for the practical exams of the RDL, while our US colleagues of AHRI will take care of the theoretical part.”

“Together with the environmental goals that training and certification of contractors in developing countries will achieve, this will also ensure that contractors will be properly trained when they decide to come to Europe to work in the RACHP sector.”

He said the project reflected the ongoing importance of global collaboration, with the involvement of current IOR president Graeme fox and former AREA president Marco Buoni.