What is the AIM Act?
In 2020, the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act was passed to regulate Hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs), which is a specific type of gas that is used in fire suppression agents (among other products in the marketplace). HFCs are greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming which is why the EPA will be regulating the phasedown. In simple terms, the AIM Act took effect January 1, 2022 and will continue through 2036 with a gradual phase down in production and consumption of HFCs.
How Does the Phasedown Impact Your System or Project?
We are already feeling the effects of the phasedown in the construction, maintenance, and property management industries. Suppliers and manufacturers of HFC systems are notifying distributors and the engineering community about the stop in production and the sharp increase in pricing for FM-200 and ECARO-25.
If you currently have one of these systems, there is no need to immediately replace it. HFCs are still available and will be available for many years to come for refills or expansions to existing systems. They will not, however, be available in bulk quantity and in most cases will not be used for new system installations.
Notable impacts to your system maintenance or installation projects are as follows:
FM-200 and ECARO-25 are available to refill an existing system.
FM-200 and ECARO-25 are available for expanding an existing system.
We expect availability to decrease and pricing to increase over the long-term.
HFC alternatives are readily available.
HFC alternatives may need to be considered for your next fire protection project
What are the Alternatives to HFC Systems?
The good news is that viable alternatives are readily available in the marketplace at a competitive price right now! These alternatives are NOVEC-1230 and Inert Gases (IG-55, IG-541, IG-100 and IG-01). With the current market changes and disruptions in the supply chain lead times for some of these alternative agents could be 120 days or more and pricing is on the rise.
What is the Phasedown Schedule?
It’s important to note that this is a phase down and not a complete elimination. The phasedown began on January 1, 2022. Every few years there will be a further reduction leading to an eventual baseline production of 15% in 2036. For complete information about the AIM Act visit the EPA’s website at epa.gov/climate-hfcs-reduction.
The Bottom Line
There is no need to replace an existing HFC system or be concerned about the availability of agent for system refills. Contractors will continue to service existing systems and use alternative agents such as NOVEC-1230 and Inert Gases for new installations on construction projects.
If you have any questions regarding the AIM Act and your fire suppression system, please contact us.