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Fluorinated gas regulations and what they mean for the heat pump industry

Fluorinated gas regulations

Fluorinated gases – or F-gases – are a family of synthetic gases that are commonly used in appliances like refrigeration units, air conditioners and heat pumps. But they have major implications for the climate. Which is why fluorinated gas regulations were introduced.

These regulations aim to fight climate change by controlling how these powerful greenhouse gases are used, contained and destroyed. Here, we’ll explain everything. But first…

Why are fluorinated gases a problem?

Fluorinated gases are potent greenhouse gases. In fact, they have an effect on global warming that’s much stronger than carbon dioxide – the best known greenhouse gas.

Unfortunately, most heat pumps manufactured today contain synthetic refrigerants that are harmful F-gases – by which we’re mainly referring to HFOs (hydrofluoro-olefins) and HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons).

Imagine that 600,000 heat pumps (the government’s target) are installed in the UK each year using HFO or HFC refrigerants. This could generate the same emissions as running a 500kW boiler flatout continuously for 656 years!

This is, of course, a major problem for the planet. But it’s also a problem for businesses that choose to install commercial heat pumps as part of green initiatives. After all, they’ll need to add refrigerant losses to their carbon footprint.

EU fluorinated gas regulations: a brief timeline

The first step towards regulating the use of greenhouse gases was to recognise their harmful impact on the environment – especially their high global warming potential (GWP).

Here is a brief overview of the fluorinated gas regulations in the EU.


The EU F-gas regulation comes into play. It’s an important first step towards recognising and dealing with the harmful impact of these gases.

This initial set of regulations sets standards for leak prevention, recovery and reporting in order to control the fluorinated gas emissions from industrial applications.


An amendment is introduced that builds on the 2006 regulation with more stringent measures, including:

  • Tighter leak detection requirements
  • Restrictions on using and selling equipment containing high-GWP F-gases
  • A schedule for phasing down the use of HFCs

The aim is to reduce the EU’s fluorinated gas emissions by two thirds before 2030.

This phase down approach doesn’t ban any refrigerant gases completely. Instead, it limits the overall GWP of gases that can be sold in the EU, to give the industry flexibility while moving towards more eco-friendly alternatives.


In January 2024, significant amendments to the EU F-gas regulation were approved by the European Parliament – marking a big step forwards in the EU’s environmental policy.

The new amendments build on the regulation introduced in 2006 and amended in 2014 to further reduce the impact of fluorinated gases on the planet – especially HFCs.

At the heart of the amendments is a detailed roadmap for phasing out HFCs by 2050.

The ambitious plans also:

  • Extend the scope of previous bans
  • Introduce stricter controls on using F-gases in different applications
  • Use a quota system based on CO2 equivalents instead of targeting specific refrigerants

The measures are designed to encourage sectors to transition to lower GWP alternatives more quickly, and to prioritise using gases with the lowest possible GWP.

Best refrigerant gases

Where does the UK sit on fluorinated gas regulations?

The EU’s ambitious stance on F-gases gives it a leading role in the fight against climate change.

The EU has proven that implementing tighter restrictions around F-gases is both feasible and beneficial. And it’s setting the bar for countries beyond the EU’s borders.

For instance, the EU’s fluorinated gas regulations have inspired programs and regulations in the US to phase down the use of HFCs – such as the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. And similarly, Canada has implemented a detailed strategy to manage HFCs, aligning its policies with international standards.

But where does the UK stand?

Well, the UK initially adopted EU F-gas regulations into domestic law to ensure continuity in the period immediately after Brexit. But now, it has the ability to develop its own policies surrounding fluorinated gases.

Ultimately, it’s yet to be seen how close the UK’s stance will be to the EU’s.

If the UK continues to align closely with the EU’s fluorinated gas regulations, this will make it easier for companies that operate in both markets, both from a trade and regulatory compliance point of view.

It would also support global efforts to reduce global warming and encourage other countries to adopt similar standards.

But then again, the UK could go a step further and implement even stricter regulations around fluorinated gases – positioning itself as a leader in environmental sustainability.

This is what we hope to see at Clade. While the EU’s regulations mark a significant step forward in controlling these harmful gases, they still leave HFOs largely unregulated and we believe they can go even further to protect people and the planet.

What does this mean for the heat pump industry and the businesses it serves?

Whatever direction the UK decides to take, one thing is clear for the heat pump industry and the businesses it serves: transitioning to low GWP refrigerants is non-negotiable.

Aside from the environmental implications of fluorinated gases, it’s obvious that regulations restricting their use will continue to tighten – especially as carbon footprints reduce and the proportion contributed by F-gases rises.

In fact, while a heat pump should generally have a lifespan of around 15 to 20 years, there’s a real risk that heat pumps containing F-gases could become a stranded asset in the near future.

Luckily, there are alternatives readily available to solve the F-gas problem in heat pumps – which is where we at Clade come in!

We design, manufacture, install and maintain heat pumps using only natural refrigerants like CO2 and propane (R290). These refrigerants have a very low GWP, don’t contain toxins and are vastly better for the environment.

Plus, they perform extremely well. In fact, natural refrigerants can achieve higher coefficient of performance (COP) at low ambients and higher flow temperatures than F-gases, making them a no-brainer.

Let us help you get ahead of fluorintated gas regulations

Keen to reduce your business’ carbon footprint while getting ahead of fluorintated gas regulations? You’re in the right place.

At Clade, we believe that natural refrigerants like CO2 and propane are the future of commercial heating, as they’re the best solution for both businesses and the planet.

Get in touch with us today to learn how we can help you make the switch to a heat pump that’s eco-friendly, efficient, cost-effective and will last you long into the future.