This credit rewards projects that select mechanical equipment and refrigerants with lower ozone depletion and global warming impacts. The credit calculation takes several other variables into account—including equipment life, refrigerant leakage rate, and the ratio of coolant charge to cooling capacity—in order to determine compliance.
All permanently installed HVAC&R equipment with more than 0.5 lbs of refrigerant—including chillers; unitary HVAC equipment (split and packaged); room and window air-conditioners; computer, data center, and telecom room cooling units; and commercial refrigeration equipment—is addressed by this credit.
This is a relatively easy credit to achieve if your project has a centralized cooling plant, with a favorable “coolant charge to cooling capacity” ratio. But even for projects with smaller, more dispersed units, this credit should be achievable if you consider the credit requirements early. The best way to confirm compliance is to run the calculations as soon as an HVAC system is proposed.
If your project already has designed an HVAC system and now wants to change the refrigerant to meet the credit, you will find that it may not be as simple as swapping out the coolant or the compressor unit for a more environmentally benign choice. Rather, your entire HVAC system may have to be resized to accommodate the different capacities and efficiencies of the newer units.
What’s New in LEED v4.1
Should I Upgrade?
This credit is unchanged between v4 and v4.1, so there is no reason to do a one-off credit upgrade.