Every year on September 16th we observe International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, a date designated by the United Nations, commemorating the date in 1987 when nations signed the Montreal Protocol recognizing the need to declare an action to preserve the ozone layer.
Current reports suggest that the 2019-20 Australian wildfires (largely believed to have been exacerbated by climate change) may have increased the size of the Antarctic ozone hole, creating a feedback loop and accelerating climate change.
The news isn’t all bad though.
Annual analysis undertaken by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric administration (NOAA) has shown that the atmospheric concentration of ozone depletion substances has been continually reducing since the 90s to levels not seen since 1980.
In building design, air conditioning could be a significant contributor to ozone depletion and as a result, most refrigerants in use today have an ozone depletion potential of zero.
Building design can still have an impact on the ozone layer. In particular, the production of insulation products can release ozone depleting substances. For this reason, when specifying insulation only products with an ozone depleting potential (ODP) of zero should be considered.
Furthermore, the positive move with refrigerants has largely ignored their global warming potential and while they no longer impact the ozone, they are a significantly worse greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. As we move forwards, refrigerants such as ammonia or carbon dioxide need to be considered to reduce their impact.
Regional Head of Sustainability.