Refrigerant Management and Building Envelope

Every refrigerator and air conditioner contains chemical refrigerants that absorb and release heat to enable chilling. Refrigerants, specifically CFCs and HCFCs, were once culprits in depleting the ozone layer. Thanks to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, they have been phased out. HFCs, the primary replacement, spare the ozone layer, but have 1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

In October 2016, officials from more than 170 countries met in Kigali, Rwanda, to negotiate a deal to address this problem. Through an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the world will phase out HFCs—starting with high-income countries in 2019, then some low-income countries in 2024 and others in 2028. Substitutes are already on the market, including natural refrigerants such as propane and ammonium. [Source: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/materials/refrigerant-management ]

A building envelope is comprised of the components that make up the shell of the building. The components separate the exterior from the interior of the building, and are designed to meet or exceed the needs of the specific application. The building envelope may also be described as what separates the interior areas that are temperature controlled (conditioned) space from exterior unheated (unconditioned) space. To break it down any area that is heated or air conditioned is considered a conditioned area where as any area that isn’t would be considered an unconditioned area. The building envelope must be designed with regard to climate, ventilation, and energy consumption within the building.

The many functions of the building envelope can be separated into three categories:

  • Support (to resist and transfer mechanical loads)
  • Control (the flow of matter and energy of all types)
  • Finish (to meet human desires on the inside and outside)

The control function is at the core of good performance, and in practice focuses, in order of importance, on rain, air, heat, and vapor control. [Source: https://www.reichelinsulation.com/Understanding-The-Building-Envelope.html ]

Drawdown EcoChallenge

The Drawdown EcoChallenge is a fun and social way to learn about and take action on the 100 climate solutions featured in the seminal work of Paul Hawken “Drawdown.”

From April 4-25, individuals and teams from around the world will take part in simple daily activities to reduce their carbon footprints and delve into the world’s most substantive solutions to global warming. At the end of the Challenge, the teams with the most points will win great prizes, including copies of Drawdown and a one-hour video session with Paul Hawken!

The EcoChallenges are broken down into these sections (with an added note of current participants):

LAND USE (1260)

ELECTRICITY GENERATION (1751)

FOOD (3156)

WOMEN AND GIRLS (1392)

BUILDINGS AND CITIES (1598)

TRANSPORT (1814)

MATERIALS (2094)

Executive Director of Drawdown, Hawken states “All of life is comprised of self-organizing systems and the Drawdown EcoChallenge is exactly that—people coming together to share, learn, support, imagine, and innovate for a better world. We are honored to be a part of this significant and brilliant initiative.”

Visit http://www.drawdown.org/ecochallenge for more information!