Cold Comfort – New California Rules for Businesses Using Refrigeration


On January 1, 2011, a new Air Resources Board (CARB) regulation takes effect to minimize leaks of refrigerants typically used by supermarkets and grocery stores, food and beverage processors, cold storage warehouses, hotels and recreational facilities, and industrial cooling processes. The regulation, known as the Refrigerant Management Program, is one of the measures adopted to implement AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. It applies to the larger commercial and industrial systems that use high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants.1 The regulation is not expected to apply to most bars, restaurants, liquor stores, or office buildings, and it will not apply to systems that use ammonia, carbon dioxide, or HFC-152a as the refrigerant.

The Refrigerant Management Program regulates three types of businesses: (1) anyone who owns or operates a nonresidential stationary refrigeration system that uses more than 50 pounds of a high-GWP refrigerant; (2) anyone who installs, repairs, maintains, services, replaces, recycles, or disposes of a nonresidential stationary refrigeration or air conditioning appliance; and (3) anyone who distributes or reclaims high-GWP refrigerants.

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