National guidelines for T&T’s ac and refrigeration sector approved

The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development is announcing for the public’s knowledge that the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has approved National Guidelines for the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Sector of Trinidad and Tobago. This is in line with the Government’s goal of ‘Placing the environment at the centre of social and economic development’ as stated in the National Development Strategy, Vision 2030.

The Government has given priority to these Guidelines because protection of the ozone layer and climate change have been identified as global environmental problems since the early nineteen eighties and is recognized as some of the most crucial environmental issues of the 21st century. Ozone layer depletion is caused primarily by gases used in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry, which underpins many important sectors which contribute to the national economy namely the food, fishing, health, tourism and industrial sectors. The main gas or refrigerant used is known as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which not only cause depletion of the ozone layer, a natural ultra violet filter found in the atmosphere, but is also a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to the warming of the earth.

The National Guidelines for Good Refrigeration Practices has been developed by the National ozone Unit (NOU), Environmental Policy and Planning Division, Ministry of Planning and Development, and supports the regulatory framework for the total phase out of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in Trinidad and Tobago by recommending technological options and best practices to reduce the demand for ODSs.

These National guidelines are designed to:

  1. Define minimum standards of good practices for servicing refrigeration and air conditioning systems,
  2. Act as a resource document in technicians training and the development of training materials,
  3. Help to initiate communication between relevant stakeholders, including service companies from the informal sector,
  4. Reduce ODS consumption in a cost effective manner,
  5. Help ensure a smooth transition from ODS to non-ODS refrigeration technology by allowing existing refrigeration systems to run until the end of their useful life, thereby avoiding premature replacement, and
  6. Improve safety quality.

It is intended that the Guidelines be used as a reference resource for the reduction of refrigerant hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) emissions into the atmosphere. It applies to the industrial/commercial, residential domestic appliances, marine refrigeration and air conditioning, mobile refrigeration and mobile air conditioning sectors.

In developing the Guidelines, direction was sought from the Guidebook for Implementation of Guidelines of Good Practice – Refrigeration Sector, developed by UNEP and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, and other guidelines of practice developed and in use by other countries in the Region.

The majority of good practices recommended in those publications have been included in Trinidad and Tobago’s Guidelines. In addition, consultations were held with representatives of the Trinidad and Tobago National Ozone Unit (NOU), refrigeration and air conditioning technicians, relevant stakeholder sector groups and other Government Agencies including the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards, Customs and Excise Division and the Trade Licensing Unit. A total of seventy-one (71) refrigeration and air conditioning company representatives and technicians, other relevant stakeholder sector groups, and nineteen (19) government agencies attended these stakeholder engagement sessions or provided written comments which aided in the development of the final document.

There was general consensus that the Guidelines are very beneficial and will enhance the quality of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration industry.

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