ARLINGTON, Va. - A new voluntary guideline recommends leak detection and preventative maintenance to minimize the impact refrigerants have on the environment.

The guideline, developed in partnership with the Air-Conditioning Refrigeration Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, aims to reduce emissions by manufacturing facilities that either produce, use, store or transport refrigerants.

"Our industry has a proud history of environmental stewardship and voluntarily implementing responsible-use programs," said William G. Sutton, ARI president. "The new guidelines recommend specific steps to help our industry further reduce emissions and further improve our already good record of handling refrigerants."

Some of the refrigerants used in air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, such as chlorofluorocarbons, hydrochloroflourocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons are "greenhouse gases," meaning they affect the environment. ARI reports that its guide contains specific recommendations for minimizing their release during every phase of the manufacturing process.

Examples include using a process to detect refrigerant loss during manufacturing, minimizing refrigerants emissions through preventative-maintenance handling equipment, and recovering and recycling waste refrigerants, if possible.

The guideline also recommends properly storing refrigerants in pressure vessels that meet regulations, monitoring transported or shipped equipment for leakage, and designing packaging to minimize refrigerant loss during shipping.

For more information on the guideline, visit www.ari.org.