The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) is hosting a national series of free seminars explaining the impact of the carbon-equivalent levy on refrigerants. The levy, which came into effect on 1 July 2012, will potentially impact anyone who owns or operates a refrigeration system.
According to Phil Wilkinson, AIRAH CEO, one of the little-publicised effects of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Future legislative package introduced on 1 July 2012 is the carbon-equivalent levy imposed on a range of refrigerant gases based on their global warming potential (GWP). He says the carbon-equivalent levy’s price impact at the point of import varies across the main refrigerant gases, ranging between 300 and 500 percent.
Businesses such as cafes, coffee shops, supermarkets, pubs and restaurants are typical of those that could be affected by the carbon-equivalent levy. Other types of business affected include industrial firms, such as printing; agricultural, such as diary; cold chain, such as cold stores; medical, such as x-ray systems; and building owners. “Any shop that has a refrigeration cabinet could potentially be impacted, depending on what type of gas it uses and how often it’s serviced by a contractor,” Wilkinson notes.
A typical scenario before the imposition of the levy would see owners of small businesses opting to ‘top up’ leaking refrigerant in their system rather than locating and fixing the source of the leak or investing in a new system. Yet now, because of the levy imposed on high-GWP refrigerants – typically hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – the price of a ‘top-up’ has risen considerably, according to AIRAH.
“The price shock caused by the levy will accelerate migration to alternative technology and to lower global-warming-potential gases – both good things,” Wilkinson says. “Yet, there are many small businesses unsure of how the carbon-equivalent levy will affect them in the short term. Basically, if you supply, install, use, own or maintain refrigeration systems, you’re going to be affected by the carbon-equivalent levy, if you haven’t been already. There are already instances of some refrigerants being unavailable because they are being stockpiled.”
AIRAH’s seminars will explore how to reduce energy consumption and refrigerant costs. Topics include the carbon-equivalent levy and HFCs, managing financial risk associated with the levy, minimising refrigerant leaks, methods for implementing energy savings, and information on low-GWP refrigerants and their application.
At the seminars real-world scenarios will be used to demonstrate how changes can be made. They will be hosted by an expert consultant and followed by a Q&A session. The free seminars will take place on 30 July in Perth; 31 July in Adelaide; 1 August in Melbourne; 2 August in Sydney; and 3 August in Brisbane. Places are limited and must be secured by registering beforehand. Registration forms can be downloaded from www.airah.org.au.