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    U.S. DoD, GSA and NASA issue a Final Rule; Use HFC Alternatives Whenever Feasible

    June 15, 2016
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    • In the Climate Action Plan, President Obama directed his Administration to purchase lower GWP alternatives to high global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) whenever feasible. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and General Services Administration (GSA) issued a final rule to amend their acquisition practices to meet the plan’s goals.

      It’s official. Effective June 15, 2016, the U.S. DoD, GSA and NASA issued a final rule (PDF, 272.73 KB) amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement the President’s Climate Action Plan to procure, when feasible, alternatives to high GWP HFCs.

      This final rule (PDF, 272.73 KB) impacts high GWP HFCs used in many common applications, including fire suppression, aerosol cleaning and precision cleaning and specifically states:

      Unless a particular contract requires otherwise, specify that, when feasible, contractors shall use another acceptable alternative in lieu of a high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbon in products and services in a particular end use for which EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program has identified other acceptable alternatives that have lower global warming potential.

      The United States is making substantial progress in limiting use and reducing emissions of high global warming potential (GWP) hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Not only has the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently changed the status of HFCs to “unacceptable” for certain uses under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, the U.S. DoD, GSA and NASA have joined forces to better align with the President’s Climate Action Plan and move toward using more sustainable substances.

      The amended FAR clarifies the definition of "high global warming potential hydrofluorocarbons" to mean "any hydrofluorocarbon in a particular end use for which EPA’s SNAP program has identified other acceptable alternatives that have lower global warming potential." Clearly, SNAP has identified multiple sustainable alternatives to HFCs in fire suppression, including 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid. The FAR final rule also impacts HFCs used in precision cleaning and aerosol cleaning applications, for which SNAP has identified 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids and 3M™ Novec™ Aerosols as approved HFC alternatives.

      According to the rule, this amendment will allow agencies to better meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals and reporting requirements of the Executive Order 13693 on “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade”

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