During the AHR 2016, the Board of Abrava had an intense agenda in Orlando - USA, where a number of international meetings were held, according to engineer Samoel Vieira Souza, President for International Relations of the entity. The meetings started on Jan, 24 with Icarhma meeting, which this year among other things, decided on the membership applications of Acaire, association from Colombia and by Rama, representing India. Both were admitted as Associates Members.

There were lots of activity on the 25th with various meetings and events, forcing the division of the group to meet all the parallel events. In highlight the GRMI meeting 'Global Refrigerant Management Initiative' of which ABRAVA is one of the founders along with AHRI and The Alliance. This meeting discussed various issues concerning the management of the organization, admission of new members and a presentation made by UNEP representative – Environmental Program of the United Nations on RDL, a new program for refrigerant gases area that is being developed by AHRI along with UNEP.

On this same day also happened the meeting of the AASA (ASHRAE Associate Society Alliance) various aspects related to relationship improvement between ASHRAE and international associations where discussed, comments on the work that ABRAVA does in cooperation with ANVISA – National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance of Brazil. The visit of the ASHRAE’s President to Brazil was mentioned, opening the CONBRAVA – HVACR Congress, and participating in other important meetings including the visit to School SENAI Rodrigues Alves and meeting with ANVISA.

On the 26th took place the FAIAR Annual Meeting (Federation of Ibero-American Associations for Air conditioning and Refrigeration) in which the ABRAVA’s President, Wadi Tadeu Neaime, became president of the Federation.

There was also the ABRAVA-REHVA meeting, which is the European Federation of Associations for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. Issues related to implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by the two entities were discussed. At this meeting several interest points of ABRAVA members were agreed and soon they will have many new features such as direct access to all literature developed by REHVA that has many publications in Portuguese. It was also agreed to exchange magazines between the two entities, thus facilitating knowledge of what happens in Europe within our industry.

On the 27th happened the traditional bilateral meeting AHRI - ABRAVA, where generally the activities in development are discussed and comments on items discussed at other meetings are made. This year the talk was about two very important issues; the deployment of the GRMI implementation and the possibility of AHRI’s standards translation to Portuguese.

These two issues led to a third that is the need to update the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two entities. Signed in 2006 it needed to be updated and the inclusion of policies for the translation of standards. Very soon there will be news and hopefully soon ABRAVA will be forming working groups for these translations.

In parallel to these technical and administrative activities, there were a number of social commitments such as the AHRI’s International Partners Reception, ASHRAE’s Presidential Luncheon, Closing Dinner and many other meetings sponsored by the exhibiting companies which kindly invited their Brazilian relationship including the board of ABRAVA which was very prestigious and struggled to attend all these events considering them very important to strengthen entity-member relations.

After this report, Samoel Vieira de Souza, President International Relations ABRAVA, gave an interview detailing more about the events in order to enlighten readers about the ABRAVA’s international activities.

ABRAVA Magazine: During the fair AHR Expo 2016 these activities are common, but every year they seem to be larger, how would you classify these international relations and the benefits to the member?

SVS: I see these activities as a work that the organization does not only during the AHR, but throughout the year. It is a thorough work that involves important information exchanges, cultural aspects and trusting relationships, but the results have been very good in making ABRAVA known and respected worldwide. The projection of ABRAVA opens access doors to updated information that is passed on to our associates and government agencies giving a strong contribution to the technological improvement of the sector.

ABRAVA Magazine:  You talked about RDL, what is the RDL?

SVS: RDL is short for "Refrigerants Driving License". It is a training program to be globally recognized by suppliers Network. It will establish minimum requirements for the "healthy" management of refrigerants and will be developed and administered through industry, strengthened by business relations. It is important to note the introduction of the word "healthy", because it has a stronger meaning than those used today as "friendly, responsible, etc." Healthy for us means "in perfect health" here we can say that the focus is a management without problems of any kind, without disease, minimizing the risks and beneficial to society. The RDL will not replace any national or regional existing certification program or interfere with the government’s role, but it should recognize existing qualification schemes that have minimum proficient "skill" to be prefixed with the RDL.

ABRAVA Magazine:  When will RDL be implanted?

SVS: RDL is early in the process, which seeks to establish some principles to be followed for its development. We anticipate three stages:

  • Stage 1: Development

It includes developing the technical extension, qualifying classification, technical modules creation, modules evaluating and operational scheme of admission / qualification, etc.

  • Stage 2: Review and Pilot

It includes review of technical modules / evaluation and operational scheme of admission / qualification as well as the pilot program to be launched in limited level (by sector and geographically) following a final review of modules and initial schemes.

  • Stage 3: Launch and monitoring of its reach

It includes the release of RDL at full capacity on a global level, providing support to national / regional associations to adopt and manage a campaign to ensure wider participation of its members and end users.

ABRAVA Magazine: Where will the resources for RDL come from?

SVS: AHRI and UNEP mobilized reasonable resources to undertake Phase 1, but may require additional financial support. Phases 2 and 3 will require mobilization of additional resources to complete the work, the full assessment of required resources will be presented soon after completing the first phase of activity "development" (scheduled for July 2016). Partners will be asked to contribute financially or with technical support. The RDL will be designed to be self-sustained after its release. 

ABRAVA Magazine:  What is GRMI intent and what is the difference between GRMI and RDL?

SVS: The GRMI is a global refrigerant management initiative led by industry, and the RDL is a training program conducted by associations with the support of UNEP. The GRMI initiative seeks to identify and explore opportunities to educate the global HVAC-R industry supply chain to improve refrigerant management to reduce leaks and emissions in services, and promote the recovery, recycling and reuse of refrigerants and up to destruction at the end of life of refrigerants and foams that use them in their expansion agents. 

ABRAVA Magazine:  What results are expected with GRMI’s initiative?

SVS: The impetus behind the formation of GRMI is the potential growth in the use of HFCs and their emissions. Although today they account for about one percent of global emissions of greenhouse gases HFCs are expected to increase to over 10% of emissions before 2025. The current fluorocarbons bank in the installed base of air conditioning and cooling equipment is approximately 20 GtCO2eq (CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs). It was estimated worldwide that more than 85% emissions occur equipment leaks during maintenance.  Regulations and legislation to improve energy efficiency and promote the use of advanced technologies and low-GWP refrigerants only aim new equipment, but there is a much greater opportunity to make significant reductions in equivalent emissions of the installed base, through effective refrigerant management practices. This is in essence the focus of GRMI, which expects to contribute strongly for this reduction.

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