Spurred by lower operating costs, building owners this year are expected to nearly reach the halfway point in the replacement of CFC-using chillers, according to the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI).

A survey of large tonnage liquid chiller manufacturers revealed that by the end of 2001 approximately 40,560 of the 80,000 CFC chillers in service in the early 1990s will still use CFCs.

"At the current pace," according to ARI, "it will take at least until the end of this decade to eliminate chillers that use CFC-11 and CFC-12, the two most widely used CFC refrigerants." Manufacturers said that in 2001 they expected 452 conversions and 3,324 replacements to bring the total to 39,440 or 49% of the 80,000 CFC chillers.

The number of replacements is less than expected earlier when the production ban was announced. However, the pace assures steady demand for the non-CFC units at home and abroad.