To be clear, does the upstream equipment in a District Energy System need to be considered for the prerequisite or only for the enhanced refrigerant management credit? Based on the "project type variations" tab from the CI online reference manual for the prerequisite, “all applicable downstream equipment within the purview of the project must meet the prerequisite requirements. All upstream equipment is excluded from the scope of this prerequisite". This is different wording from the NC "project type variations" tab for a DES where upstream equipment is considered.
From the LEEDUser's Viewpoint for the prerequisite it says that "Projects with district energy systems (DES) must commit to refrigerant replacement/conversion within five years of “substantial completion” of the project". If this applies to upstream equipment it seems to go against the reference manual as noted above.
If conversion/replacement of all CFC-based systems in the DES within 5 years is a prerequisite for all campus buildings seeking LEED v4 certification, it is a difficult task that seems prohibitive with the negative impact of old equipment disposal possibly out weighing the benefits of a new system.