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Making refrigerant reclaim easier than ever for customers

The following is a programme by Trane Supply, Trane Technologies’ HVAC parts and supply solutions business, and A-Gas shows a trend that may one day be seen in South Africa.

Refrigerant reclamation involves processing used refrigerants to meet AHRI-700 specifications and performance. Image supplied by Trane

Refrigerant reclamation involves processing used refrigerants to meet AHRI-700 specifications and performance. Image supplied by Trane

They are making refrigerant reclaim easier than ever before for Trane Supply Customers, so that together they can increase their positive impact on the environment.

Refrigerant reclamation involves processing used refrigerants to meet AHRI-700 specifications and performance. Reclaiming refrigerants reduces the need to manufacture virgin refrigerants, substantially reducing potential emissions and contributing to Trane Technologies’ Gigaton Challenge, part of the company’s 2030 Sustainability Commitments. Also committed to reducing emissions, A-Gas has pledged to be a net-zero company by 2035.

Through the Refrigerant Reclaim Programme, Trane Supply collects customers’ used refrigerant in its stores in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. A-Gas then reclaims the recovered refrigerant for future re-use, helping the industry reduce its overall carbon footprint. Recovering and reclaiming refrigerants prevents them from being released into the atmosphere and avoids associated carbon emissions.

Trane Supply offers this as a free service to customers and a benefit to the environment: every 2.5kg of refrigerant Trane Supply reclaims is like taking one car off the road for a year.

When customers bring their used refrigerant to Trane Supply stores, they exchange their full cylinders for empty ones and receive credit for certain refrigerants to use against future refrigerant purchases. Before Trane Supply’s Refrigerant Reclaim Programme and collaboration with A-Gas, customers had to work with other reclaim vendors at their own expense.

Trane Supply sets up customers for easier cylinder exchange on-location

Trane Supply is partnering with larger customers in the Pacific Northwest region to further simplify the refrigerant reclaim process. Instead of customers bringing cylinders to Trane Supply stores, the stores are helping customers set up their own dedicated cylinder storage areas.

With dedicated storage areas for used refrigerant cylinders, and empty cylinders ready for technicians to take to job sites, customers always have what they need on hand. What’s more, Trane Supply and A-Gas provide easy-to-follow instructions so that technicians can reliably label the cylinders properly and comply with EPA requirements.

Through the collaboration, A-Gas picks up the used refrigerant directly from customers, swaps out full cylinders for empty ones and saves the customer from hauling 20-30 full cylinders at a time to a Trane Supply store – or waiting on slow recovery equipment to pump out the tanks, not a quick or inexpensive task.

A-Gas provides Trane Supply with R4 Certified R410A

Beyond the cylinder exchange collaboration, A-Gas and Trane Supply are also providing A-Gas’ R4 Certified R410A to Trane technicians across the United States.

R4 Certified is A-Gas’ certified reclaimed R410A refrigerant that meets the California Air Resource Board’s regulatory requirements. California’s R4 – Refrigerant Recovery, Reclaim and Reuse – Programme outlines the requirements for refrigerant reclaimers and air-conditioning equipment manufacturers in California.

“A-Gas has been a long-time partner of Trane Supply, and we’re proud to offer R4 Certified to Trane and their technicians for use as they service equipment across the country,” said Taylor Ferranti, commercial vice-president of Refrigerant Management at A-Gas. “Reclamation starts with safe refrigerant recovery, and through this partnership, we’re making it easy for stakeholders across the industry to support lifecycle refrigerant management practices.”

A customer’s story

For Jeremy Swift, service superintendent at Southland Industries in Portland, Oregon, this new arrangement simplifies refrigerant recovery for his business. Southland Industries is a large mechanical contractor, and Jeremy oversees the HVAC service department. Southland Industries’ technicians service and repair HVAC equipment for commercial and industrial customers, and in the process, recover large amounts of refrigerant.

“Our biggest challenges around recovering refrigerant were storage and reporting,” Jeremy said. “We were disorganised about it in the past and used a variety of vendors who charged us to pump out full tanks. Now, with the new system we have through Trane Supply, the process looks and feels more professional. Tags are being completed thoroughly, so I know the refrigerant is labelled properly. This is important for our business’s compliance with the EPA and the ability to re-use the refrigerant and attain the environmental benefits of reclaim. The new process is much easier and gives me peace of mind.”

In addition to saving time – technicians do not have to drive to a Trane Supply store to pick up an empty cylinder when they need one – Southland Industries is saving several thousand dollars a year. Trane Supply covers the cost of reclaim through the collaboration with A-Gas and even provides a credit for Southland Industries to use on future refrigerant purchases.

“Recovering refrigerant isn’t something I have to think about anymore,” Jeremy said. “The process is going smoothly, and our refrigerant storage area is much more organised, functional and professional.”

Trane Supply’s refrigerant reclaim programme by the numbers

In 2022, Trane Supply collected enough refrigerant in 123 Trane Supply stores across the US to avoid 186 000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to taking more than 41 000 cars off the road for one year.

A reclaim in the Portland Trane Supply store, where Trane Supply set up its first large customers with cylinder own locations, is really taking off. Through the recovery and reclaim of refrigerant in 2022, the Portland store avoided 32 328 metric tons of CO2 emissions, which is equivalent to taking 7 200 cars off of the road for one year. In just the first quarter of 2023, the Portland store reclaimed over 30% of its total 2022 reclaim amounts – a promising start to another impactful year, as the Portland store has about ten times the number of canisters in circulation compared to other markets.

“In addition to helping us make a bigger impact on the planet, offering reclaim as a free service to Trane Supply customers will help us capture more of our customers’ business,” said Martin Soderlund, senior product manager for Trane Supply. “We’re offering a value-added service and making refrigerant recovery and reclaim easier than ever for our customers.”