On March 4, 2020, the National Environment Agency (NEA) of Singapore announced the launch of a new green label scheme that identifies climate-friendly refrigerators and air conditioners for the aim of curbing the use of refrigerants with higher greenhouse impacts. This was announced at the Parliament by Mr. Masagos Zulkifli, Minister of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) as part of the Ministry’s measures to curb emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have a significant greenhouse potential. In addition to the climate-friendly label scheme, the MEWR’s measures include: 1) ban on supply of refrigerators and air conditioners that use refrigerants with high greenhouse effects, 2) establishment of a technician training and certification system, and 3) mandatory recovery of refrigerants.
These measures will be implemented by NEA in a phased manner between 2020 and 2023. The outline of these measures are as follows:
- Introduction of Climate-Friendly labels (beginning in March 2020)
- The climate-friendly labels as shown below are issued to refrigerators and air conditioners that use refrigerants with a low global warming potential (GWP) (See the above figure; left: for air conditioners, right: for refrigerators).
- The Climate-Friendly labeling is a voluntary scheme and made to help consumers make decisions on what products to buy.
- Major retailers plan to participate in the climate-friendly labeling and display labels at their stores from March 2020.
- Ban on supply of products that fall under any of the following criteria (beginning in Q4 2022)
- Household air conditioners that use refrigerants with a GWP greater than 750
- Household refrigerators that use refrigerants with a GWP greater than 15
- Water-cooled chillers using refrigerants with a GWP exceeding 15
- For apparatuses for business use, the MEWR plans to create new grants for supporting business entities in corporation with the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to work with the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) (details are to be announced later).
- Establishment of training and certification programs for technicians who handle refrigerants (Phased in from late 2020).
- NEA will collaborate with a technical junior college (the Institute of Technical Education: ITE) and the Temasek Polytechnic to establish training courses that educate how to handle HFCs without leakage to household air conditioner technicians (at ITE) and chiller technicians (at Temasek Polytechnic).
- ITE and Temasek Polytechnic will launch their training and certification program in late 2020 and 2021, respectively.
- Companies that have technicians who install, maintain, and dismantle household air conditioners will be encouraged to send their technicians to participate in this training program.
- Companies with technicians who install, maintain, and dismantle chillers will have to hire at least one technician who is certified under this certification program beginning in 2022.
- Mandatory recovery and proper disposal of used refrigerants (beginning in July 2021)
- NEA will mandate the recovery and reclamation/destruction of used refrigerants from dismantled air conditioners and refrigerators from July 2021.
- Used refrigerant recovered by recycling businesses or certified technicians must be reclaimed or destroyed at a facility that has been licensed as a Toxic Industrial Waste Collector (TIWC) by NEA.