Refrigerants

In Switzerland, refrigerants are regulated by Annex 2.10 of the Chemical Risk Reduction Ordinance (ORRChem). A key objective of these regulations is the reduction of emissions through ozone depleting and potent climate-warming refrigerants. The development of this regulation reflects the advancing state of the technology. The latest amendment to Annex 2.10 ORRChem was approved by the Federal Council on 17 April 2019.  

Basic legal sources


1. Refrigerants stable in the atmosphere in stationary systems

Refrigerants stable in the atmosphere are refrigerants, which contain substances stable in the atmosphere according to Annex 1.5 ORRChem (Annex 2.10, number 1, paragraph 3 ORRChem).

Prohibitions

The prohibitions defined in Annex 2.10, number 2.1, paragraph 3 to 7 ORRChem refer to the placing on the market of certain stationary systems that operate with refrigerants stable in the atmosphere. The prohibitions relate in particular to systems with high cooling capacities, systems containing refrigerants stable in the atmosphere with high global warming potentials, as well as systems with high filling capacities.

The enforcement aid “systems containing refrigerants: from concept to placing on the market” (available in German, French and Italian) explains and specifies these regulations. It defines the state the technology for the various fields of application. A revised version of this enforcement aid, including the rules in effect from 1st January 2020 onwards, will be published shortly. 

 

Anlagen mit Kältemitteln: vom Konzept bis zum Inverkehrbringen

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Included within this enforcement aid are also the following practical overviews: 

In particular the following new provisions should be taken into account:

  • Since 1 June 2019, a licence is required for the import and export of certain refrigerants stable in the atmosphere (see information on substances stable in the atmosphere). 
  • From 1 January 2020 onwards, stricter regulations will apply to the placing on the market of stationary installations containing refrigerants stable in the atmosphere (see amending regulation AS 2019 1495 annex 2.10, number 2.1, paragraph 3; available in German, French and Italian).
  • From 1 January 2020 onwards, a prohibition will apply to the servicing (refilling) with non-regenerated refrigerants stable in the atmosphere with a global warming potential of 2500 or more in installations with a filling capacity of 40 tonnes CO2 equivalents or more (see amending regulation AS2019 1495, annex 2.10, number 3.3 and number 7, paragraph 5; available in German, French and Italian).
 

Exemptions

If due to the state of the technology it is not possible to comply with standards SN EN 378-1:2017, SN EN 378-2:2017 and SN EN 378-3:2017 without using a refrigerant stable in the atmosphere, the FOEN may according to Annex 2.10, number 2.2, paragraph 8 ORRChem grant an exemption from the prohibition defined in Annex 2.10, number 2.1, paragraph 3 ORRChem for a given system on the basis of a well-founded application.

For submitting requests for exemptions, the following form can be used:

 

A simplified exemption procedure exists for the placing on the market of temporary refrigeration systems using the following form:

 

2. Refrigerants stable in the atmosphere in appliances and mobile systems 

Prohibitions 

The prohibitions defined in Annex 2.10, number 2.1, paragraph 2 ORRChem relate to the production and placing on the market (including import) of certain mobile systems operated with substances stable in the atmosphere (see list below). 

Exemptions 

A direct exemption to the prohibitions exists for appliances and mobile systems defined in Annex 2.10, number 2.1, paragraph 2 letter b-f ORRChem, if in the current state of the technology no substitute is available, if the refrigerant stable in the atmosphere with the smallest impact on climate has been selected, and if the available measures according to the state of the technology have been taken to prevent refrigerant emissions (Annex 2.10, number 2.2, paragraph 2 ORRChem). Annex 2.10, number 7, paragraph 4 ORRChem regulates the transitional period after a change in the state of the technology, which the FOEN publishes on this page after consultation with the industry concerned. 

On the basis of a well-founded application the FOEN may grant temporary exemptions from the prohibitions of annex 2.10, number 2.1, paragraph 2, letters a and b ORRChem under the aforementioned conditions (annex 2.10, number 2.2, paragraph 7 ORRChem). 

 

For the applications and mobile systems listed below, the current state of the technology is as follows:

a) Household refrigerators and freezers: There has been a replacement for all household refrigerators and freezers for several years, which is why according to ORRChem a direct exemption is not applicable. Other household cooling and freezing appliances, such as ice machines for home use, are not covered by this regulation today.

b) Cooling and freezing appliances for the commercial area: 

 

c) Household appliances containing heat pumps, in particular appliances for dehumidifying and drying: An alternative currently does not exist, the direct exemption applies to all uses. 

 

d) Air conditioners

e) Air conditioning systems used in motor vehicles

f) Mobile refrigeration systems for the transport of goods: An alternative currently does not exist, the direct exemption applies to all uses. 

 

3. Refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer

Refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer are refrigerants, which contain substances that deplete the ozone layer according to Annex 1.4 ORRChem (Annex 2.10, number 1, paragraph 2 ORRChem).

Prohibitions

  • Placing refrigerants containing CFCs or halons on the market, and using them for refilling appliances and systems, has been prohibited since 1 January 2004.
  • Placing refrigerants containing virgin HCFCs on the market, and using them for refilling appliances and systems, has been prohibited since 1 January 2010.
  • Placing refrigerants containing HCFCs on the market, and using them for refilling appliances and systems, has been prohibited since 1 January 2015.

Exemptions

Since 1 June 2019 there is an exemption of the prohibition on manufacturing, placing on the market, importing for private purposes and exporting of appliances and systems that operate with ozone depleting refrigerants, if due to the state of the technology no alternative exists, the refrigerant has an ozone depleting potential of not more than 0.0005 and the available measures according to the state of the technology have been taken to prevent emissions of the refrigerant (Annex 2.10, number 2.2, paragraph 6 ORRChem). Annex 2.10, number 7, paragraph 4 ORRChem regulates the transitional period after a change in the state of the technology, which the FOEN publishes on this page after consultation with the industry concerned.

 

4. Leakage inspections, service log and reporting procedure

The obligations defined in Annex 2.10, number 3.4, 3.5 and 5 ORRChem apply to the leakage inspection, to the maintenance of a service log as well as to the reporting procedure of systems and appliances operating with refrigerants. The “Guideline on Stationary Systems and Devices with Refrigerants" (available in German, French and Italian) explains and specifies these obligations. For the various fields of application the guideline defines the state of the technology. A revised version of this guideline will be published shortly.  

 

Anlagen und Geräte mit Kältemitteln: Betrieb und Wartung

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In particular the following new provision should be taken into account:

  • Since 1 June 2019, all stationary systems containing more than 3 kg of refrigerants must be reported, independent of the refrigerant used. This obligation also applies to already existing systems.

The reporting of the commissioning or decommissioning of systems shall be made at the Swiss Registration Office for Refrigeration Systems and Heat Pumps (SMKW). 

 

Further information

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Last modification 24.07.2019

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