Building Services News - in Focus

R22 Refrigerant Gas

Following studies which show that R22 refrigerant gas has a damaging effect on the environment, EU legislation has triggered a phasing out of R22 refrigerants.

From 01/01/2015, the use of recycled HCFCs will be prohibited in the main. However, many affected companies have decided to comply with the new regulations before this deadline. There are two main reasons for this:

-The majority of R22 refrigeration units are at least one half of the way through their working life. Costs to repair and maintain are increasing all the time, so most companies are choosing to phase these out instead of persevering with a costly repairs and maintenance.

-Unlike the R22 units, each new installation will use refrigerants such as R410a, R404a and R407c, which have zero ozone-depleting potential. These refrigerants are also more energy efficient, so proving cost-effective for companies to switch sooner rather than later.

Gas Safe Register Scheme in Place

Corgi has been replaced by the Gas Safe Register Scheme as Britain's gas safety scheme. From 1 April 2009 by law anyone working on gas appliances must be on the Gas Safe Register, with the 120,000 Corgi registered engineers required to re-register to the new scheme.

Official figures show around 25 people a year die from carbon monoxide poisoning due to the incorrect installation of gas appliance and poor maintenance.

Ann Robinson, Gas Safe Register's director of public awareness highlighted the importance of gas safety:

"Gas Safe Register will raise public awareness of the dangers of using unregistered installers and explain how easy it is to avoid them by always using a registered engineer."

Further information: www.gassaferegister.co.uk

CSB Code Unwrapped

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has unveiled its detailed proposals for the new Code for Sustainable Buildings (CSB).

Supported by RIBA, Arup and Lend Lease, the UK-GBC is urging the government to introduce a single code for all new and existing non-domestic buildings.

The plan is for a ‘building MOT' to be introduced to monitor and improve the environmental performance of a building for the duration of its life.

Daniel Labbad, chief executive of Lend Lease, said the code will "create an overarching framework that could be easily understood across the industry."

Further information: www.lowcarbonbuildingsdirectory.org

Minister Comments on UK-GBC Proposal

Planning minister Margaret Beckett UK Green Building Council's (UK-GBC) proposed Code for Sustainable Buildings.

The UK-GBC Code proposed consistency across policies, tools, guidelines, metrics and targets. It is a framework using existing legislation to help all make all buildings are sustainable.

Beckett commented at environmental conference Ecobuild:

"I am very willing to listen to people coming forward with ideas to reduce carbon emissions. The industry has understood and accepted the basic arrangements needed for further investigation."

Plans are for the government to consult on the Code for Sustainable Buildings in the summer.

Further information: www.building.co.uk

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