In March of 2021, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) adopted a regulation on prohibitions of hydrofluorocarbons in specific end-uses.


Kyle Krall
Division of Air Quality

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) are potent greenhouse gases (GHG) that have global warming potentials that range from hundreds to thousands of times that of carbon dioxide. They are the fastest growing GHGs emitted globally.

Hydrofluorocarbons are typically found in applications such as refrigeration, air-conditioning, aerosols, and foams. Depending on the application, different HFCs can be used as a single compound or in a blend.

Under the United Nations Environment Programme’s Montreal Protocol, chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons were recognized as ozone depletion substances (ODS). The U.S. EPA defined a phase-out schedule for the different classes of ODS. Hydrofluorocarbons were developed to be substitutes for these ODS; however, HFCs were recognized as potent GHGs.

100-year GWP
of common HFCs
HFC-23 14,800
HFC-32 675
HFC-125 3,500
HFC-134a 1,430
HFC-143a 4,470
HFC-152a 124
HFC-227ea 3,220
HFC-236fa 9,810
HFC-4310mee 1,640
Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fourth Assessment Report

Measuring Impacts

Global warming potential (GWP) is a measurement developed to allow comparison of the global warming impacts of different gases. It is the amount of heat that a particular GHG can trap over its lifetime in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is assigned a GWP of 1 and is used a reference for the GWP of other GHGs.

Regulatory Action

The DNREC Division of Air Quality developed Prohibitions on Use of Certain Hydrofluorocarbons in Specific End-Uses (7 DE Admin Code 1151), as directed by Governor John Carney and supported by House Concurrent Resolution 60. The regulation was finalized in March 2021 and became effective on March 11, 2021.

The regulation applies to “any person who sells, offers for sale, leases, rents, installs, uses, or manufactures” in Delaware any product or equipment that uses an affected HFC, as listed in the regulation. There are different effective dates of prohibition for different end-uses, ranging from Sept. 2021 to Jan. 2024.

Existing products or equipment containing a prohibited substance may continue to be used if they were acquired prior to the prohibition date, unless an existing system is retrofit.

Learn more about the development of the regulation in the Division’s Technical Support Document.

Cool Switch Low Impact Refrigerant Program

To assist with the transition to refrigerants with lower global warming potential, the DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal, and Energy has developed the Cool Switch Low Impact Refrigerant Program. Eligible participants can apply to receive incentives for replacing existing refrigerants with low global warming potential refrigerants or installing new systems that use low global warming potential refrigerants.