The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers will work with the United Nations to address environmental issues, such as chlorofluorocarbon-based chillers.

ASHRAE and the UN will promote sustainable activities in areas such as emissions reduction, energy-efficient systems and building design.

ASHRAE says the signed agreement comes 20 years after the signing of the Montreal Protocol.

In the mid-1980s, worldwide concern grew over damage to the ozone layer from the use of substances such as chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons. These substances have important uses, including refrigerants, heat-transfer fluids and blowing agents for insulating foams.

In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was adopted after a hole was discovered in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Under the agreement, CFC use in new equipment has ceased in developed countries, and HCFC usage has been capped and is to be phased out. Developing countries have agreed on eliminating both CFCs and HCFCs and have made substantial progress in meeting this commitment.

“ASHRAE and the heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and refrigerating industry are responding to growing global demand for new technologies that do not contribute to ozone depletion and are energy efficient,” said Terry Townsend, ASHRAE president. “Energy efficiency is a key issue because the burning of fossil fuels to generate electric power is considered a major greenhouse gas emitter.”

“Thirty months from now, CFCs will only be found in history books with a remaining burden to deal with thousands of tons banked in existing systems,” said Rajendra Shende of the United Nation’s environmental program. “An international debate has just also triggered about accelerated scenarios for phasing out HCFCs as well as the future of higher global warming HFCs refrigerants. It’s quite clear that (the) HVACR industry has and will continue evolving rapidly to respond to such global concerns and movements. Joining hands with ASHRAE as a world pioneering association in HVACR will definitely have its positive impact in addressing many clients with latest technologies and updates.”

ASHRAE and the UN previously collaborated on a smaller scale with the signing of a regional cooperation agreement between west Asia and ASHRAE’s local chapters.