The F-Gas regulations that came into force on July 7, 2011 mean that owners and operators – rather than suppliers or service companies – are responsible for the f-gases (greenhouse gases) used in their refrigeration equipment.
This means that owners and operators need to get their refrigeration checked for leaks regularly, and ensure that anyone handling and servicing the equipment is fully certified. The 'f' in f-gas stands for fluorine, which is used in many refrigerants (including R134a and R404a) and is a powerful greenhouse gas. The whole point of the F-Gas regulations is to contain, prevent and ultimately reduce emissions of these gases, as covered by the Kyoto Protocol.
Refrigerants with GWP (Global Warming Potential) greater than 2500 will be banned by 2020. This includes R404A which is the most commonly used refrigerant with a GWP of 3922. The bands will be tightened again in 2022 to include all refrigerants with GWP greater than 150. This includes R134a which is the next most commonly used in refrigerant with a GWP of 1430.