Cool Switch Low Impact Refrigerant Program

The Cool Switch Low Impact Refrigerant Program’s goal is to incentivize the use of refrigerants with lower Global Warming Potential impacts.

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Chloe Hennig
Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy
Program Guidelines Program Application

Program Overview

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are a common type of chemical refrigerant in the U.S. HFCs were developed as alternatives to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which damage the earth’s ozone layer.

Though safer for the ozone layer, HFCs still contribute to global warming. Other types of refrigerants, such as “natural refrigerants,” or a new class of refrigerants called hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), have limited climate impacts and can provide an alternative to HFCs.

The Cool Switch Low Impact Refrigerant Program offers participants grants for replacing existing refrigerants with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants or installing new systems that use low GWP refrigerants.

In 2023, the Cool Switch Program was recognized by Apolitical as one of the year’s top 100 global climate policy breakthroughs. The list showcases climate policies that have demonstrated the potential for scalability and effective change throughout the global climate sector.


All Delaware non-residential consumers that use at least 50 lbs of refrigerant are eligible to participate in Cool Switch.

Applicants should keep abreast of regulations currently under development that may affect the use of certain HFCs in Delaware.

In 2021, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control promulgated regulations to reduce the use of HFCs as part of the state’s efforts to confront climate change: Prohibitions on Use of Certain Hydrofluorocarbons in Specific End-Uses (7 DE Admin. Code 1151).

Installed refrigerants must have a GWP less than 1,500. Examples include: R-449A, R-448A, Ammonia, and Carbon Dioxide.

Avoided Emission Calculations

Avoided tons of CO2-equivalent emissions associated with a Cool Switch Project will be calculated using the following inputs:

  • Years of remaining refrigerant system operation
  • System charge (pounds of refrigerant used)
  • Global Warming Potential of existing or baseline refrigerant
  • Global warming potential of replacement refrigerant.

Incentive Levels

Incentives for all pathways will be paid at a rate of $25 per ton of avoided CO2 equivalent emissions up to the limits described below:

Retrofit System Incentive Limit:

  • All retrofit projects: Lesser of 50% of total project cost or $250,000

New System Incentive Limits:

  • Natural refrigerant systems: Lesser of 50% of total project cost or $250,000
  • Conventional systems: Lesser of 25% of total project cost or $250,000

Application Process

All grants require pre-approval prior to purchasing any services, equipment or refrigerants. Participants must submit an application form to DNREC. Information required includes:

  • Contract/installer/vendor information
  • Baseline system specifications (retrofit)
  • Replacement/new system specifications

View complete program guidelines here.

A pre-installation site visit may be required.

After project completion, participants submit itemized invoices for all install equipment and refrigerants. DNREC will conduct a final review and may require a post-installation site visit. Once the project passes final review, the grant is disbursed.

Additional Funding Opportunities

DNREC’s Energy Efficiency Investment Fund (EEIF) can be used to supplement a Cool Switch grant. Cool Switch program participants can apply for and receive EEIF grants based on the energy savings associated with Cool Switch projects.

Additional information can be found at:

The State Energy Program Revolving Loan Fund can be used to supplement an EEIF grant project or as a stand-alone loan for installation of energy efficiency measures. Information on the Revolving Loan Fund is available on the EEIF web page. Applicants must have an energy audit that includes a detailed description and documented energy savings of the proposed project. Applicants can be from non-residential, commercial, or industrial sectors.