BP08: Refrigerant Leak Detection

Official language

The chemical properties of refrigerants make them extremely effective at cooling the equipment they serve however they also carry severe risks and impacts to the environment, specifically the Earth’s atmosphere. When released freely, chlorofluorocarbon-based (CFC) refrigerants damage the ozone layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere and contribute substantially to global warming. It is not uncommon for refrigerant-using systems to leak refrigerants into the atmosphere unchecked, compromising system performance and substantially impacting the environment.

This best practice helps building operators to reduce stratospheric ozone depletion  caused by unintended releases of refrigerants into the atmosphere through proper heating, ventilation, air condition, and refrigeration (HVAC) refrigerant management practices.

 

Objective

Create and implement procedures for HVAC refrigerant leak detection to proactively discover leaks and promptly remediate them.

Submittal Requirements

The following are the required submittals in order to fulfill the objective of this best practice. In addition to the procedure(s) outlined below, any jurisdictional requirements shall be strictly adhered to.

 

  • Inventory of HVAC refrigerant-using equipment that includes:
    • Type of refrigerant-using equipment;
    • Number/Amount of each type of equipment;
    • Location of equipment;
    • Location(s) served by equipment;
    • Type of refrigerant used;
    • Equipment manufacturer; and
    • Model number.
  • Log of refrigerant leak tests, results, and repairs that align with inventory.
  • Written refrigerant leak detection testing procedures including an action plan and/or notification procedures for when refrigerant leaks are detected.

 

For Tenant-Controlled Spaces

Option 1. Inventory, log, and testing procedures.

  • Inventory of HVAC refrigerant-using equipment for the entire building or that serve tenant-controlled space including:

    • Type of refrigerant-using equipment;
    • Number/Amount of each type of equipment;
    • Location of equipment;
    • Location(s) served by equipment;
    • Type of refrigerant used;
    • Equipment manufacturer; and
    • Model number.
  • Log of refrigerant leak tests, results, and repairs that align with inventory.
  • Written refrigerant leak detection testing procedures including an action plan and/or notification procedures for when refrigerant leaks are detected.

OR

Option 2. Declination of ownership/management

If ownership/management is unwilling to engage:

  • Documentation of request to ownership/management for 1) an inventory of all refrigerant-using equipment serving the tenant-controlled space, 2) a log of leak tests, results, and repairs and 3) written refrigerant leak detection testing procedures and 4) any response to the request.
  • Process for reengaging ownership/management on, at least, an annual basis.

Implementation Guidance

See BIT Building Program Manual for additional details and recommended steps for implementing this best practice.

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BIT User’s viewpoint

Frequently asked questions

Online resources

Implementation toolkit

The chemical properties of refrigerants make them extremely effective at cooling the equipment they serve however they also carry severe risks and impacts to the environment, specifically the Earth’s atmosphere. When released freely, chlorofluorocarbon-based (CFC) refrigerants damage the ozone layer in Earth’s upper atmosphere and contribute substantially to global warming. It is not uncommon for refrigerant-using systems to leak refrigerants into the atmosphere unchecked, compromising system performance and substantially impacting the environment.

This best practice helps building operators to reduce stratospheric ozone depletion  caused by unintended releases of refrigerants into the atmosphere through proper heating, ventilation, air condition, and refrigeration (HVAC) refrigerant management practices.

 

Objective

Create and implement procedures for HVAC refrigerant leak detection to proactively discover leaks and promptly remediate them.

Implementation Requirements

See BIT Building Program Manual for additional details and recommended steps for implementing this best practice.

Submittal Requirements

The following are the required submittals in order to fulfill the objective of this best practice. In addition to the procedure(s) outlined below, any jurisdictional requirements shall be strictly adhered to.

 

  • Inventory of HVAC refrigerant-using equipment that includes:
    • Type of refrigerant-using equipment;
    • Number/Amount of each type of equipment;
    • Location of equipment;
    • Location(s) served by equipment;
    • Type of refrigerant used;
    • Equipment manufacturer; and
    • Model number.
  • Log of refrigerant leak tests, results, and repairs that align with inventory.
  • Written refrigerant leak detection testing procedures including an action plan and/or notification procedures for when refrigerant leaks are detected.

 

For Tenant-Controlled Spaces

Option 1. Inventory, log, and testing procedures.

  • Inventory of HVAC refrigerant-using equipment for the entire building or that serve tenant-controlled space including:

    • Type of refrigerant-using equipment;
    • Number/Amount of each type of equipment;
    • Location of equipment;
    • Location(s) served by equipment;
    • Type of refrigerant used;
    • Equipment manufacturer; and
    • Model number.
  • Log of refrigerant leak tests, results, and repairs that align with inventory.
  • Written refrigerant leak detection testing procedures including an action plan and/or notification procedures for when refrigerant leaks are detected.

OR

Option 2. Declination of ownership/management

If ownership/management is unwilling to engage:

  • Documentation of request to ownership/management for 1) an inventory of all refrigerant-using equipment serving the tenant-controlled space, 2) a log of leak tests, results, and repairs and 3) written refrigerant leak detection testing procedures and 4) any response to the request.
  • Process for reengaging ownership/management on, at least, an annual basis.
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