Thursday, May 21, 2009
The global warming potential of chemicals is well documented. This is usually documented by referencing how much a chemical will impact global warming as compared to a similar amount of carbon dioxide.
Refrigerants typically outrank carbon dioxide by a factor of 100 or even 1000 and stay in the atmosphere longer to our climate's detriment.
A global warming potential value is assigned to all greenhouse gases. This number is used by scientists to determine how gases, such as refrigerants, will impact global warming within 20 years, 100 years and 500 years.
Most greenhouses gases stay in the atmosphere longer than 20 years, with many as high as 100 years. Unless action is taken to control emissions and dangerous gases, considerable harm will be done to the earth and all living organisms on it.
In determining the global warming potential of a substance, three factors are considered. They are the amount of absorption of infrared radiation, the atmospheric location of where absorption takes place, and how long the substance remains in the atmosphere. A substance with a high potential has a greater impact of causing adverse climate change.
The lower the global warming potential of the substance the better for a healthy environment. All refrigerants in use today can contribute to global warming as greenhouse gases and this is why there are regulations in place to limit their use. These refrigerants will eventually be phased out and replaced with more palatable alternatives.
Chemicals with the highest global warming potential are hydrochlorofluorocarbons, such as those found in refrigeration and cooling systems. The values for hydrochlorofluorocarbons range from 120 to 12,240 over their atmospheric lifetime. When these numbers are broken down, it takes only one molecule of refrigerant gas to cause harm to the ozone layer.
The refrigerant R-113 Trichlorotrifluoroethane has one of the highest global warming potential values at 4800, while the refrigerant R-114 Dichlorotetrafluoroethane has one of the lowest values at 3.9. The alternative refrigerants being developed have no impact on global warming and are being used in the production of all types of new refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
Facilities that use refrigerants with a high global warming potential, for example commercial refrigeration and air-conditioning systems and HVAC systems, must monitor and track usage and submit reports regularly. Both the US Clean Air Act and other international treaties mandate these requirements.
emissions from refrigerants with a high global warming potential are on the decline due to new regulations, particularly those which refer to leak reporting and leak fixing. The United States has led the way and harmful refrigerant gases should be phased out by 2015. Facilities must comply with the appropriate regulations to avoid penalty, but more importantly help to sustain the future of the world's environment.
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Thursday, May 7, 2009
According to something I read recently, the global temperatures of the earth have increased on average of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) since the late 1800s, which means to me that global warming is real and not going away anytime soon.
I believe many people believe the realities of global warming and want to do something to help. Every little bit helps and if you are like me and want to do something to do your part to help reduce global warming here are some ideas that you can implement today.
Compost Food Waste
When you discard your food waste it simply goes into the trash and then hauled away to your local landfill. Once there it begins to rot which is a release of methane gas. Methane is a contributor to global warming. Sure that leftover bowl of spaghetti may not seem like much that you are throwing away, but imagine the other 6 billion people on the planet that are doing the same thing. It does add up. Instead compost that food waste by burying it. Dig a hole about 2 to 3 feet deep and bury it. You are doing two things here. First you are reducing waste that goes to your landfill and second your supplying food to earthly creatures such as worms, bacteria and fungi. These creatures will eat your food waste and in turn produce castings that are nutrient rich for the soil. Methane doesn’t get released into the atmosphere and you help your soil.
The emissions from automobiles are one of the leading causes of global warming. Until cleaner fuels become more main stream we must use other methods to help in reduction. Be smarter with your driving practices. Combine trips when you go out. Car pool to work with others. When you are at a drive thru, such as the bank, turn the car off while you wait. These are just a few ways you can reduce your car’s emissions. Obviously not driving at all is the best solution, but it is impractical for the majority of people.
Be Smart with Electric
The majority of electric generated in the world is done so through burning fossil fuels such as coal. Burning fossil fuels emits carbon dioxide, so it goes without saying that the more electric we use the more coal we have to burn and the more Carbon Dioxide we generate. Therefore take steps to be more “electrically efficient” around the home. Change you light bulbs to the new energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. Unplug any and all appliances that you are not using to ensure that no power is being drawn. Turn off lights in rooms that you are not in. Replace those really old appliances with newer energy efficient ones.
There are many ways you can help reduce carbon dioxide production and emission into our atmosphere. With it being one of the major contributors to global warming we can and must do our part to at least slow it down. I have given you three ways in which you can start to help today. By educating yourself on more ways and sharing those ways with others we will be well on our way to a safer climate for generations to come.
By: Bruce A Tucker
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