If you are old enough to remember the Moon landing and the “One small step for man… one large step for mankind,” you may also remember that looking back at planet Earth was one planet, not two or some other number.
The reason I bring this up is that I travel the world as a part-time Christian missionary in third-world countries, particularly to Africa. In the past several years, I have worked in Uganda, Botswana, Kenya and I just returned this last week from Zambia. Why is this germane to the HVAC business you might ask? Just this, we here in the US and Western Europe are on some quest for zero emissions from autos, buses and trucks, along with no HCFC’s, or HFC’s with supposed “Greenhouse potential”. Zero is a difficult number to achieve and I ask… to just end? The Africa connection… as I travel there I note that virtually every vehicle visibly smokes. Not a little, they pour it out! People cook over open fires as one might expect with minimal electricity available. It is another real problem are the “trash fires”: large numbers of small mounds of garbage smoldering with acrid aromas and dense choking smoke. Did you also know that there are no restrictions on “R-anything” refrigerant wise? Say it isn’t so!
The point I wish to make is that we should NOT sully the planet, we were given it to manage and conserve and should take reasonable steps to keep it clean. However, as it is “One Planet” a zero emissions policy in one locale only with regard to either vehicle or “Greenhouse Gas effect” at extraordinary expense to consumers and contractors is not right. I for one am appalled at our EPA’s (Environmental Protection Administration) efforts to change from R-410a to something else (perhaps by 2015), as they “think” it may be a contributor to warming (now known as climate change). Until it is a proven unequivocal fact that R-410a causes warming, I am interested in NOT having yet another refrigerant to deal with, and would resist attempts to move in that direction. This discussion has gotten somewhat crazy as one of the alternatives proposed was propane… the consequences of which are obvious. The warming potential of propane is well known, immediate and local… Can anyone say BOOM!
Until other areas of our planet (think Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa) and the like begin to limit environmental pollutants, I believe our current situation of very limited emissions is appropriate, and that new Draconian measures based on computer modeling and minimal empirical data, but rather is unwarranted. Can you remember how many hurricanes were supposed to have devastated Florida in the last three years… based on computer modeling? Was it 9 or 10? The actual count was ZERO. We may not know as much concerning the workings of planet Earth as is widely reported in the media. Let’s just stay where we are with the current regulations and allow some of the rest of the world to catch-up.
Looking out for you,
Guest column written by Bob Cochell, a FRACCA Board member and member of the Energy Technical Advisory Committee of the Florida Building Commission. If you have questions or have feedback to give on this article, contact your local chapter office, or contact the FRACCA executive office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727-576-3225.