Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Calculating the equipment charge as CO2 equivalent

CO2 equivalent of f-gases

Each separate piece of equipment will have its own equipment charge. It used to be the number of kilograms of gas in the system that was important for deciding the actions required for servicing and maintenance of a refrigeration or air conditioning system.

This has changed and it is now a measure of the effect the F-gases in the system could have on the atmosphere that is important. This is calculated by working out the quantity of CO2 that would have to be released to have the same warming effect on the atmosphere as the contents of the system.

This is known as the CO2 equivalent of the F-gas.

The CO2 equivalent of the equipment charge is calculated using:

  • the quantity of F-gases in the equipment in kg
  • the global warming¬† potential (GWP) of the F-gases in the system.

Different F-gases have different global warming potential. This relates to its ability to absorb energy and add to the warming of the atmosphere. Two pieces of refrigeration equipment that have a similar capacity for refrigerant can contain different F-gases. If released, the impact on the atmosphere could be significantly different

The charge is calculated by multiplying the number of kilograms of F-gas by the global warming potential of the specific gas in the system.

Global warming potential of greenhouse gases, including typical F-gases. The F-gases are shaded.

GAS GWP (100 years)
CO2 1
Methane 25
Nitrous Oxide 298
HFC-134a 1,430
R-404A (HFC blend) 3,922
R-410A (HFC blend) 2,088
HFC-125 3,500
PFC-14 7,390
SF6 22,800


Example: Warming potential of 1kg of different gasses

1kg of HFC-134a is equal to 1.43 tonnes of CO2

1kg of R-404A is equal to 3.92 tonnes of CO2

1kg of PFC-14 is equal to 7.39 tonnes of CO2

Example: 5 tonne CO2 equivalent threshold

5 tonnes of CO2 is equal to:

  • 3.5 kg of HFC-134a
  • 1.27 kg of R-404A (HFC blend)
  • 0.68 kg of PFC-14

GOV.UK: Calculate the carbon dioxide equivalent quantity of an f-gas

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