5 Environmentally Friendly Refrigerants for Using HVACs Responsibly

April 3, 2023

It’s no secret that harmful refrigerants have devastatingly affected the environment. Many businesses are now looking for environmentally friendly refrigerants to replace Freon and other harmful chemicals.

In this blog post, Carney & Son 72 Degrees will discuss some of the best environmentally friendly refrigerants on the market and how you can use them in your HVAC system responsibly!

History Of Harmful Refrigerant Effects On The Environment:

Chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs or Freon, are a group of man-made chemicals that were once commonly used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and aerosol cans. However, freons were found to damage the Earth’s ozone layer, protecting us from harmful ultraviolet rays. As a result of this discovery, the production of CFCs was banned in many countries in the late 20th century.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) or another brand of freons are a group of man-made chemicals developed to replace CFCs. While HFCs do not destroy or harm the ozone layer, they are potent greenhouse gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

Global Warming Potential (GWP) tool:

In response to the toxic effect, a timeline for the phase-out of chlorine-based refrigerants was established by the 1987 Montreal Protocol and subsequent accords. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) tool was created to gauge and compare how refrigerants and other compounds affect the atmosphere and consequent global warming. Rating refrigerants according to their GWP values enables harmful gases with high GWP values to be phased out while promoting those with lower GWP values as replacements.

5 Environmentally Friendly Refrigerants:

Fortunately, several environmentally friendly refrigerants can be used in place of CFCs and HFCs. These refrigerants include:

1.    Hydro-fluoro olefins (HFOs):

HFOs are a type of fluorocarbon, but they do not contain chlorine or bromine and are therefore much less damaging to the environment.

Few of the HFOs include R449A and R454C.

2.    Carbon dioxide (CO₂):

CO₂ is a naturally occurring gas used as a refrigerant for many years. It is non-toxic and does not contribute to ozone depletion. CO₂ is a very efficient refrigerant, but it can only be used in applications where the temperature is below 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

3.    Ammonia (NH₃):

Ammonia has been a refrigerant for over 100 years and is still used today. It is very efficient and has a very low impact on the environment. Ammonia is also very inexpensive, making it a great choice for businesses looking to save money.

However, its flammability limits its widespread use.

4.    Isobutane (C₄H₁₀):

Isobutane, which is stable and comparable to its predecessors in performance and environmental effect, has a very low GWP value of just 3. It is now among the most regularly used refrigerants for residential, commercial, and industrial refrigeration.

5.     Isopropane:

Isopropane is evolving into a common refrigerant for commercial and industrial refrigeration and specialized applications for camping, recreational vehicles, laboratory, and medical refrigeration. It combines Isobutane and well-known, affordable, and easily accessible propane.


Several other refrigerants have low GWP values and are considered environmentally friendly. However, the two most common ones are Isobutane and isopropane. These are two great options to consider if you’re looking for a refrigerant that will not harm the environment.


Professional HVAC contractors like Carney & Son 72 Degrees, serving Goose Creek, Charleston, and the surrounding areas, can help you with refrigerants. Whether you want assistance with HVAC installation or maintenance, our air conditioner specialists are the solution.

Please book a consultation with us today!

Carney & Son Air Conditioning and Heating

Carney & Son, 72 Degrees

We are a family Owned & Operated HVAC Services in Charleston, SC, proudly serving the Charleston community for 39 years.

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