Greenhouse gas emissions for refrigerant choices in room air conditioner units

Michael D. Galka, James M. Lownsbury, Paul Blowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In this work, potential replacement refrigerants for window-mounted room air conditioners (RACs) in the U.S. have been evaluated using a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions analysis. CO2-equivalent emissions for several hydrofluoroethers (HFEs) and other potential replacements were compared to the most widely used refrigerants today. Included in this comparison are pure refrigerants that make up a number of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) mixtures, pure hydrocarbons, and historically used refrigerants such as propane and ammonia. GHG emissions from direct and indirect sources were considered in this thermodynamic analysis. Propylene, dimethyl ether, ammonia, R-152a, propane, and HFE-152a all performed effectively in a 1 ton window unit and produced slightly lower emissions than the currently used R-22 and R-134a. The results suggest that regulation of HFCs in this application would have some effect on reducing emissions since end-of-life emissions remain at 55% of total refrigerant charge despite EPA regulations that mandate 80% recovery. Even so, offsite emissions due to energy generation dominate over direct GHG emissions and all the refrigerants perform similarly in totals of indirect GHG emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12977-12985
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 4 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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