New MA Proposed Regulation: Greenhouse Gas Reduction by Prohibition of Certain Hydrofluorocarbons

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is proposing a new regulation under 310 CMR 7.76 that would regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in the following End-Uses: refrigeration, chillers, aerosol propellants, and foam. HFCs are a class of greenhouse gases that are saturated organic compounds containing hydrogen, fluorine, and carbon, and are commonly found in the listed End-Uses. The ultimate goal of this regulation is to achieve greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the state of Massachusetts.

The proposed regulation applies to those who sell, lease, rent, offer for sale, install, use or manufacture in Massachusetts any product or equipment from the prohibited substances listed in 310 CMR 7.76(6) unless an exemption is provided for the end-use in 310 CMR 7.76(7). Additionally, the proposed regulation applies to products and equipment manufactured after the effective date of prohibition listed in 310 CMR 7.76(6): Table 1 for each End-Use.

Products and equipment, including foam systems not yet applied on site, can be sold, distributed, installed, and used after the effective date of prohibition as long as they were manufactured prior to the applicable date of prohibition.

Existing functional products and equipment are not required to be replaced under the proposed regulation, and can continue to be used, serviced, and repaired under the proposed regulation. However, several circumstances would subject existing products and equipment to the regulation:

  • Retrofitting: replacement of one type of refrigerant with a different type of refrigerant. If existing equipment is retrofitted, it cannot be retrofitted to use a refrigerant that is prohibited on the day of the retrofit.
  • Expansion: equipment that is expanded by the addition of components to increase system capacity after the effective date of prohibition would be considered new and subject to the proposed regulation. If existing equipment is expanded, it cannot be expanded to use a refrigerant that is prohibited on the day of expansion.
  • Cumulative replacement: products or equipment replaced or cumulatively replaced such that the cumulative capital cost of replacement exceeds 50% of the capital cost of replacing the whole system would be considered new and, as in the case of expansion, subject to the proposed regulation.

,310 CMR 7.76(7): Table 1 provides a list of exemptions to the prohibited substances and End-Uses. Examples of such exemptions include: aerosol propellants containing HFC-134a used for removal of grease, flux and other soils from electrical equipment; lubricants and freeze sprays for electrical equipment or electronics; and duster sprays specifically for removal of dust from photographic negatives, semiconductor chips, specimens under electron microscopes, and energized electrical equipment. Exemptions for air conditioning and foam systems for certain prohibited HFCs require that reasonable efforts have been made by the facility to ascertain that other alternatives are not technically feasible due to performance or safety requirements until a specified date listed in ,310 CMR 7.76(7): Table 1.

The regulation requires manufacturers to label applicable End-Use products to enable buyers to ensure they purchase compliant products. Additionally, manufacturers of applicable End-Use products and equipment are required to maintain records for five years that demonstrate that the product or equipment does not contain the prohibited substances or that the product or equipment is exempt from the prohibitions.

Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc. is here to listen to your needs and provide guidance through understanding this new proposed regulation. You can contact us for help in assessing potential impacts to your company. We can also discuss with you our EHS-Dashboard™ which can be used to efficiently track records and inventory HFCs and other chemicals to alert you of approaching regulatory triggers.