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With a view to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent undesirable effects on the global climate, the European Union has introduced the F-Gas Data Bank, i.e. an electronic register where those who work in the air conditioning sector will be obliged to communicate all data relating to the sale and installation of air conditioning systems. Since these are equipment that contains fluorinated greenhouse gases, many of our items can only be sold on the basis of a self-declaration in which the purchaser guarantees that the installation of the machines will be managed only and exclusively by F-certified companies and/or persons Gas. You can download the document for the F-Gas self-declaration by clicking on the following link: F-Gas self-declaration (.pdf).
2. EUROPEAN UNION (EU) POLICY
The European Union has established that developed countries must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050 to limit climate change that predicts a 2°C increase in temperature with the aim of preventing unwanted effects on the climate. The European Commission has adopted a roadmap to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050. Compared to 2005, a reduction in non-CO2 emissions, including F-gases and excluding emissions from agriculture, is needed by 60-61% by 2030. Fluorinated gases or F-Gases (HFC, PFC, SF6) are man-made chemicals used in various sectors and applications. These gases do not contribute to the reduction of the ozone layer and their use is safe due to the low level of toxicity and flammability. However, most of them have a high global warming potential (GWP) up to 23,000 times higher than that of CO2. F-Gases represent 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions in the entire European Union but have grown by 60% since 1990.
Regulation 517/2014 has the objective of reducing F-GAS emissions in order to achieve EU climate objectives, including:
- Periodic obligation to check for leaks and install leak detection systems;
- Obligation to recover residual gases in order to ensure their recycling, regeneration or destruction;
- Restrictions on the placing on the market of gases and equipment containing them;
- Control of the use of certain gases;
- Labeling of products and equipment before being placed on the market;
- Reduction of the amount of hydrofluorocarbons placed on the market through a quota system;
- Training and qualification programs for personnel working on gas-containing equipment;
- Monitoring and tracing of the phases of production, import, distribution, use of gas.
The expected result is that, thanks to the new regulation, the F-Gas emissions of the European Union will be reduced by 60% by 2030. From this point of view, the European Union considers the monitoring of fluorinated gas emissions to be of fundamental importance greenhouse effect with the aim of verifying the progress made in achieving the objectives of reducing emissions. For this reason, the use of coherent and high quality data for the communication of fluorinated greenhouse gas emissions is essential: therefore the Regulation requires all Member States to set up information communication systems in order to acquire data on emissions.
3. PERSONS INVOLVED (Presidential Decree 146/2018)
Regulation (EU) 2067 provides for the certification of natural persons for stationary refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, stationary heat pumps and cold rooms of refrigerated trucks and trailers as well as companies for stationary refrigeration and air conditioning equipment air and stationary heat pumps containing F-Gas. Natural persons and companies, according to the provisions of the Regulation, which carry out activities such as checking for leaks from equipment containing fluorinated greenhouse gases, recovery of fluorinated greenhouse gases, installation, repair, maintenance, assistance and decommissioning are required to observe the following obligations:
- Registration in the Register;
- Obtaining a Certificate;
- Communication of data on installation, maintenance, dismantling, leak control activities.
Resellers, on the other hand, who supply products to third parties containing F-gases and/or equipment containing F-gases that are not hermetically sealed are required to be registered in the Register and to communicate their sales data.
4. THE NATIONAL ELECTRONIC REGISTER OF CERTIFIED PERSONS AND COMPANIES
Individuals and businesses are registered in the national electronic register in such a way that the information relating to the activities governed by this decree is made accessible and usable to all interested parties and that their transparency is guaranteed, the certification bodies and the evaluation. Among those registered in the Register are companies and individuals who carry out activities on stationary refrigeration equipment, stationary air conditioning equipment and stationary heat pumps. The F-Gas telematic register can be consulted by section:
- Section A. Certification Bodies, Conformity Assessment and Attestation Bodies
- Section B. Natural persons and companies not subject to the certification obligation but only to be registered in the FGAS Register
- Section C. Certified people and companies
- Section D. People who have obtained the Certificate
- Section E. Persons exempt or with transitional derogation from the certification obligation
- Section F. Persons and companies that have obtained certification in another Member State
The certificates and attestations are issued by accredited certification and attestation bodies whose list is available on the Registry website. These bodies operate according to accreditation schemes prepared by Acredia (the only certification body) and approved by the Ministry of the Environment. This ministry, on 29 January 2019, approved the following accreditation schemes:
- People accreditation scheme for the issue of certifications to natural persons assigned to the activities referred to in Regulations (EC) n.304/2008 and n.306/2008, as well as in the Implementing Regulations (EU) 2015/2067 and 2015/2066;
- Business accreditation scheme for the issue of certifications to companies that carry out the activities referred to in Regulation (EC) No. 304/2008 and in Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2067.
6. DATABASE FLUORINATED GREENHOUSE GASES AND EQUIPMENT CONTAINING FLUORINATED GASES
Article 6 of Regulation 517/2014 provides that operators establish and keep, for the equipment indicated, registers in which a series of information is specified. The Presidential Decree 146/2018, which established the Database of fluorinated gases and equipment containing fluorinated gases, provides for the obligation to communicate all the activities affected by the Regulation starting from 25 September 2019. The obligation to communicate is no longer the responsibility of the operators but to certified subjects (persons and companies) who carry out installation, maintenance, repair, leak control and dismantling activities, each for the part of their competence. The equipment defined by Article 4 c.2 of Regulation 517/2014 are the following (in bold the equipment sold on our e-store):
- stationary refrigeration equipment (chillers and mini-chillers);
- fixed air conditioning equipment (monosplit systems, multisplit systems and fixed air conditioners without outdoor unit);
- fixed heat pumps (air/water heat pumps, hybrid systems, underfloor heating);
- fixed fire protection equipment;
- cold rooms of refrigerated trucks and trailers;
- electric switches.
The communication must be made by the certified body electronically to the national database managed by the Chambers of Commerce within and no later than 30 days (in bold the case concerning the purchase of equipment on our e-store):
- from the installation of the equipment;
- from the first leak check, maintenance or repair of equipment already installed;
- from the dismantling of the equipment.
The data to be communicated (by the certified body) to the database are as follows:
- date of installation or date of intervention;
- invoice and/or sales receipt (if available);
- place of installation or disposal;
- operator details;
- type of equipment;
- quantity and type of fluorinated greenhouse gases present and/or possibly added;
- name and address of the recycling or reclamation facility;
- identification data of the certified natural person or of the certified company which carried out the intervention;
- quantity and type of greenhouse gas recovered during work on the equipment;
- observations (uncoded free field).
A natural or legal person exercises effective control if all of the following conditions are met:
- free access to the equipment which entails the possibility of supervising its components and their operation and the possibility of granting access to third parties;
- control over the functioning and ordinary management;
- the power, including financial, to decide on technical modifications, the modification of the quantities of fluorinated gases in the equipment, and the execution of checks or repairs.
Pursuant to the D.P.R. no. 146/2018, the company or body that configures itself as an "operator" of equipment containing F-Gas is not required to register with the Register or to be certified. However, the same company or body has the obligation to contact certified persons or companies for the installation, maintenance, repair, assistance and disposal of the aforementioned equipment as well as for the control of losses and the recovery of F- Gases contained therein.
Therefore, starting from 25 September 2019, the obligation to keep records will be respected through the communication that installers and maintenance technicians will send to the database from which the operator can download a certificate containing all the information relating to his equipment.
7. COMMUNICATION OF SALES DATA
Equipment that is not hermetically sealed or that contains fluorinated greenhouse gases are sold to end users if it is demonstrated that the installation is carried out by a certified company (Regulation 517 art. 11). This obligation refers to all equipment regardless of the content of fluorinated gases (F-Gas). The Presidential Decree 146/2018 establishes that the obligation to communicate sales data starts from 24 July (6 months from the entry into force of the Decree). Until 24 July, the paper register will have legal value (this is a fulfillment required by the European Regulation). From 25 July 2019, on the other hand, only the new database will have legal value.
As far as sanctions are concerned, Legislative Decree no. 26 of 5 March 2013 "Sanctioning provisions for the violation of the provisions of regulation (EC) no. 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases" remains in force. The supervisory and verification activity, for the purpose of imposing the sanctions referred to in paragraph 1, is exercised by the Ministry of the Environment and the Protection of the Territory and the Sea. These sanctions may affect operators (or owners) of refrigeration systems, air conditioning systems and heat pumps who do not use certified personnel for installation and control activities.