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DNREC incentivizing use of certain refrigerants with new regulations in the pipeline

Milton Pratt
Delaware Public Media

A new state program means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Delaware by encouraging the use of refrigerants it says are less harmful to the environment.

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) launched the Cool Switch - Low Impact Refrigerant Program this week—incentivizing businesses and other entities that switch away from using refrigerants with high amounts of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

These types of refrigerants became widely used after CFCs were phased out in the late 1980s for causing ozone layer depletion. While HFCs do not have the same effect on ozone as CFCs, they are considered a highly potent greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.

DNREC Energy Administrator Robert Underwood says in addition to the new incentive program, the state is proposing regulations that may phase out the use of certain HFCs if approved. 

“We also have some regulations that are coming down the pike that’s going to limit some of the refrigerants that are currently being used in Delaware,” said Underwood. “So this is kind of like a companion piece to the regulations that’s going to help people to transition to things that are a little more beneficial to the environment without having an impact to their bottom line.”      

Underwood says the incentive program offers $25 per ton of C02 emission reductions. It’s available on a first come first serve basis to any entity using more than 50 pounds of refrigerant each year.

“It’s everything from the small mom and pop grocery stores, gas stations all the way up to the large commercial industrial facilities whether it be a chemical plant or the port,” said Underwood.

The program is funded with $1 million set aside from Delaware’s share of the 11 state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.