Say Hello to Life Cycle Climate Performance

In an effort to promote a balanced approach to managing the impact of refrigeration equipment on the environment, Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration is proactively leveraging both emerging and existing technologies. This effective approach takes into account both the indirect and direct impact of refrigeration equipment on global warming. The effort to reduce greenhouse gases – and therefore, mitigate environmental impact – with these strategies, as well as with the introduction of alternative refrigerants, is an ongoing initiative for Heatcraft Worldwide and the entire industry.

Until recently, Total Equivalent Warming Impact (TEWI) has been the model used to gauge the global warming effect of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. The scale was developed as a balanced comparative index of global warming impact of installed refrigeration systems by accounting for both the direct contribution from refrigerant emissions to the atmosphere as well as the indirect contribution of the energy consumed by the equipment. The direct impact is calculated from the specific Global Warming Potential (GWP) value assigned to each refrigerant multiplied by the kilograms of refrigerant emitted into the atmosphere. The indirect impact is calculated from the CO2 emissions associated with generating the electricity used to power the equipment.

TEWI (expressed in terms of equivalent Kg CO2 emissions) is the sum of both the direct and indirect influences and provides an index measurement of the total global warming impact of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment to the environment.

A more accurate approach would include a life cycle assessment, which would include the impact of end-of-life decommissioning of the equipment and the energy associated with refrigerant production. Including these two additional components to the recognized TEWI analysis improves the accuracy of the assessment. This improved process is referred to as the Life Cycle Climate Performance (LCCP) of the refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

Allowing for unbiased appraisal of variable equipment alternatives based on the specific needs of the equipment location and use, LCCP is a more rigorous method of calculating the cradle-to-grave global warming impact of any product – including those that use either fluorocarbons or natural refrigerants such as carbon dioxide, ammonia or hydrocarbons.

LCCP calculations account for global warming impacts due to direct greenhouse gas emissions associated with the energy consumption of the product. In applications such as domestic and commercial refrigeration and stationary and mobile air conditioning equipment with the lowest LCCP rating produces the lowest global warming impact.

Fifty recognized world experts have agreed on an LCCP model that has been reviewed by peer groups and accepted worldwide as the most credible method of comparing the total global warming impact of alternative equipment choices.

Studies have shown it’s essential to analyze both the direct and indirect contributions of all refrigeration equipment alternatives in order to choose the most environmentally acceptable option. In addition, there is evidence that energy efficiency and reduced refrigerant emissions are the most effective means to mitigate future anthropogenic contributions to global climate change, making ecological design the answer to providing refrigeration solutions in which all factors of LCCP have been taken into account.