United Nations Environment Programme
The Montreal Protocol is to a very significant degree concerned with the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) sector, which represents the largest share of consumption of ozone depleting substances in all countries. It is largely thanks to the people working in this sector that the treaty has achieved the tremendous success that it has so far, and it is on their shoulders that the future success of ozone layer and climate protection will be built. The men and women who install, service, repair and dismantle RAC equipment are at the heart of the phase out of HCFCs and the introduction of energy efficient and low global warming potential (GWP) alternatives.
For a country to be ready and equipped to adopt alternative refrigerants, which include hydrocarbons, ammonia, carbon dioxide, and hydrofluorooelfins (HFOs), it needs to have informed and well-trained servicing technicians. They need to be trained to cope with the specific properties of alternative refrigerants such as flammability, toxicity and high working pressures, and understand the pros and cons of the different refrigerants and equipment that uses them. However, technicians in developing countries may not be familiar with the new RAC technology, and their knowledge and skills need to be strengthened. Specialized technician training, both theoretical and practical, linked with national technician certification programmes is the best way of building and verifying the competence of personnel handling refrigerants, performing installations and carrying out servicing. RAC technician training is one part of the national refrigerant management strategy promoted by the Multilateral Fund. Ensuring that developing countries have well trained and certified technicians will significantly contribute to the dual objective of gaining climate and ozone benefits from the servicing sector.
UN Environment OzonAction supports the upgrading of the skills and knowledge of technicians as part of overall refrigerant management strategies for developing countries. We recommend that countries adopt minimum requirements for training and certification of contractors handling low GWP refrigerants at the national level. OzonAction provides National Ozone Units, refrigeration servicing technicians with technician training including in-person training courses, online e-courses, training curricula, smartphone applications, and fact sheets. The training is conducted through HCFC Phase out Management Plans, which integrate investment projects, policies and capacity building to phase out HCFCs and introduce low-GWP, energy efficient alternatives. The country-level activities are frequently organised in cooperation with national refrigeration associations or RAC training institutes. OzonAction also has partnerships with associations and industry to jointly promote RAC technician training.
First International Stakeholder Workshop on Assessment of Global Training Programmes in the Refrigeration Servicing Sector (11-12 April 2016, Paris)