Coca-Cola Turns to HFC-Free Insulation for Refrigeration Units
"This new equipment will emit 75% fewer direct green house gas emissions, as compared to traditional sales equipment on the market today. As this equipment replaces older models being retired from our fleet, it will result in an annual reduction of 30,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions," said Jeff Seabright, vice president of environment and water resources at Coca-Cola. "This matters because studies show that HFC emissions will constitute an increasingly greater share of global warming pollutants in the future unless business takes action."
Hydroflourocarbons (HFCs) are gases formerly used to produce the polyurethane insulation in many refrigerated appliances. HFCs are also the most common type of refrigeration gas. HFCs are considered powerful global warming pollutants with a global warming potential of between 1,300 (R134a) and 3,400 (R404a) depending on the type of HFC being used. While debate exists over specific projections for the total contribution of HFC emissions to global climate change, virtually all of the research projects an increase. If current trends were to continue, HFC's overall contribution to global warming pollution would increase from 1.5% today to somewhere between 2%-3% and 8.6% by 2050.
"Coca-Cola doesn't just talk about environmental responsibility, but acts. We hope that this courageous example will find a lot of imitators in industry and retail," said Wolfgang Lohbeck, a climate expert from the environmental protection organization Greenpeace.
The elimination of HFCs from insulation materials is part of a broader commitment by the Company to reduce emissions from sales and marketing equipment. The Coca-Cola Company is also working to eliminate HFCs from its refrigerant gases and reduce the energy usage of its equipment. This week more than 2,000 completely HFC-free beverage coolers were placed at all 12 stadiums of the FIFA World Cup Soccer Venues in Germany. These units use CO2 refrigeration systems and are designed to use less energy.
"As industry leaders it is our responsibility to invest in the research and development necessary to develop economically viable and commercially available refrigeration solutions to take us toward an HFC-free, climate- friendly future," Seabright said. "We hope that other companies will join our commitment to sustainable refrigeration. By working together, we can continue to reduce the impact of commercial equipment on the environment."
Last year, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Unilever were awarded the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Protection Award for their joint efforts in promoting the development of environmentally friendly commercial refrigeration technology through the creation of the Refrigerants Naturally coalition. In December of 2005 Refrigerants Naturally became an official partnership of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD), opening the possibility to expand the membership of Refrigerants Naturally to a number of like minded companies who are willing to make a commitment to an HFC-free future.
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