How regulations are cutting emissions in the heating and ventilation sector


Kilfrost Ltd explains how industry regulations are aiding the drive to reduce the impact of the heating and ventilation sector on the environment

It is primarily the high energy consumption and CFC emissions associated with heating, ventilation and air-conditioning installations which have historically had the biggest impact on climate change, with regulations phased in over the past three decades aimed at encouraging the industry to utilise more natural or sustainable alternatives, and ultimately increase the efficiency of such systems.

The 1987 Montreal Protocol, for example, came into force to regulate the production and use of chemicals that contribute to the depletion of Earth’s ozone layer and as such, established phase-out dates for the consumption of ozone-depleting substances. The later 2005 Kyoto Protocol identified the global warming potential of refrigerants and subsequently set reduction targets for greenhouse gases, while the F-Gas Regulation imposed in 2014 saw the EU restrict the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases.

These global environmental decisions amongst others form the basis of many positive changes taking place in the refrigeration and heat pump sectors. Regulations and guidelines differ from country to country, although the main industry drivers remain the need to reduce the primary refrigerant charge in cooling the systems and move towards more natural refrigerants. This ultimately affects the choice, design, engineering and location of the plant which has resulted in a preference for indirect or secondary systems.

Enhancing Efficiencies in Secondary Systems

The main drawbacks with indirect systems are, by their very nature, the increased cost of secondary fluids, pumps and pipework, in addition to the extra heat exchanger between the primary and secondary circuits. An indirect system may require extra pumping capacity to support the additional effort to enable the fluid to be circulated efficiently to the preferred cooling sites. Also, there is usually a resultant temperature difference between the primary and secondary refrigerants, contributing to a lower evaporating temperature and pressure with consequential higher capital and operational expenses for the end user.

The need to not only reduce the impact on the environment and to enhance efficiencies, deliver capital expenditure benefits and reduce operating costs for clients is becoming ever more vital to this increasingly competitive industry. Many designers and manufacturers typically only consider mechanical specifications changes, such as to their circulation pumps and compressors, in a bid to achieve this.

However, in doing so, the very heart of the issue is overlooked – essentially, the correct selection of optimised heat transfer mediums which can improve the design and performance of an entire system.

The Heart of the System: Heat Transfer Fluid Selection

The operational performance, longevity, long-term costs, and sustainable qualities of a system can be significantly impacted by the heat transfer fluid used in its operation. Refrigeration and HVAC systems frequently use traditional glycol-based solutions to regulate target spaces, whether commercial buildings, residential homes or leisure developments.

MEG-based dilutions are widely used in heating and cooling systems around the world as they offer good physical properties, providing a low viscosity solution which enables them to be pumped around a coolant loop far easier than MPG dilutions – resulting in greater efficiency of heat transfer. However, MEG-based fluids are also toxic and can present a risk to human health. The preferred alternative for many – MPG – has a more favourable human toxicity profile but is far less efficient at transferring heat energy because of its higher viscosity, which subsequently leads to increases in pressure drops particularly at low circulation temperatures.

This is why Kilfrost as an organisation has addressed this issue, by innovating and developing a pioneering range of heat transfer fluids which strike the perfect balance between not only safety in use, but tangibly enhancing efficiencies, while also reducing the negative impact on the environment.

Our own dedicated LV (Low Viscosity) range is designed to suit a diverse array of sectors – with the Kilfrost ALV fluid in particular created very much with the industry in mind. Formulated with sustainable GRAS heat transfer fluid bases and a low circulating viscosity to improve system efficiencies, it offers premium performance, along with reduced environmental hazard. Having been developed over many years and with robust tests at sites across the world throughout the development process, these industry-changing fluids are not simply an example of advanced low viscosity fluids but are a real revolution in heat transfer which removes risk while adding efficiency and reducing operating costs.

Supporting Good Design

The heat transfer fluid is a significant element of any system design and needs to be considered at the start of initial project design specification assessments. Kilfrost’s new ‘next generation’ Low Viscosity Heat Transfer Fluid range offers designers and engineers the freedom to improve overall system performance, without compromising on safety and impact on the environment.

The fluids are suitable to reduce the volume of primary refrigerant circuits with less impact on performance, which is why they are gradually becoming the heat transfer fluid of choice for engineers and installers. Switching to this range will minimise climate impact, enhance safety, reduce system strain and ultimately maximise efficiencies.

For further information about the Kilfrost range of products, please visit, contact the team direct on +44 (0)1434 320332 or email




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