Inside our air conditioners, refrigerant is the lifeblood of indoor comfort systems. It makes conditioned air possible, carrying away heat and allowing cool air to comfort us inside homes and buildings.
Until recently, that refrigerant had what scientists call high Global Warming Potential (GWP).
With 1.6 billion air conditioning units in the world — a number predicted to double by 2050 — developing a refrigerant that minimizes climate change could provide meaningful environmental advantages.
This is why many in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning industry are excited about R-32, a next-generation refrigerant that is remarkable because of its low environmental impact.
What is R-32?
Compared to today’s most widely used refrigerants, R-32 has one-third the GWP. Plus, R-32 features an ozone depletion potential of zero. A pure, single-component refrigerant, it’s easier to reuse, reclaim, and recycle than other common refrigerants that are blends.
Air conditioning’s environmental impact rests a combination of the refrigerant used and energy consumed. In contrast, this next-gen refrigerant also conveys heat efficiently, allowing it to reduce electricity consumption up to 10 percent compared to air conditioners using the older standard, R-22.
In fact, if all the world’s air conditioning units were converted to R-32, the impact on climate change would be reduced by the CO2 equivalent of approximately 800 million tons, or 19 percent, in 10 years.
Becoming a phenomenon
While the United States and other developed markets have been slower to adopt, Japan already has more than 10 million R-32 units installed. All told, 84 million air conditioners are now cooling buildings around the world using R-32.
As more people demand indoor comfort, transitioning to R-32 has the potential to reduce air conditioning’s global impact on climate change while delivering the performance and energy efficiencies needed to cool our buildings.