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New ASHRAE ELearning Course Announced In Partnership With UNEP Deemed A Success

New ASHRAE ELearning Course Announced In Partnership With UNEP Deemed A Success

From eSociety, July 2017

By Mary Kate McGowan, Associate Editor, News

ASHRAE and United Nations Environment Programme paired up to launch a new eLearning course to help developing countries better understand and implement the Montreal Protocol regulations.

ASHRAE President Bjarne W. Olesen, Ph.D., Fellow/Life Member ASHRAE, announced the course, "Refrigerants Literacy," at the 39th Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group, held the week of July 11-14 in Bangkok, Thailand. Bryan Becker, Ph.D., P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, and Brian Fricke, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE, developed the 4.5-hour web-based course.

UNEP commissioned ASHRAE to develop the course based on ASHRAE’s subject matter expertise and knowledge base.

During the meeting, participants could ask questions about and try out the course. The feedback will be used in future revisions of the course and other ASHRAE eLearning courses.

The four-lesson course will help National Ozone Units (NOU)—governing units in developing countries responsible for managing their country’s programs to comply with the Montreal Protocol—in five areas: how to monitor the import and export of refrigerants and applications, set national policies for refrigerant usage, control ozone depleting substances’ emissions, advise other authorities and private sectors on the technology, and design and implement a national refrigerant management plan.

More than 140 countries including Serbia, Qatar, and Vietnam have NOUs working to ensure their countries’ policies and industry meet with the Montreal Protocol regulations. Most of the developing countries with NOUs are located in warm climates, which makes a more difficult environment for refrigeration compared to colder environments.

During the meeting, about 300 people asked about the course, and about 60 people attempted to complete the four-hour course that culminates in a final exam. By the end of the meeting, six people had completed the course and received certificates.

Former ASHRAE President James E. Wolf, Presidential Life Member ASHRAE, also tried out the course and provided feedback that will be taken into consideration when developing and revising eLearning courses.

The success of the course did not end with the meeting. About 80 people who live in developing countries have registered for the course through UNEP since the conference.


The basic refrigerants literacy course is designed to help policy makers, procurement officers, building owners, facility managers, and others who do not work in the HVAC&R industry learn an overview of refrigerants and how they affect the environment and ozone layer. 

Industry professionals created the course to teach people how to characterize refrigerants according to ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 34, Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants, and how to determine the air’s maximum refrigerant concentration based on the refrigerant toxicity level.

The course is currently available to UNEP regional officers. As part of ASHRAE’s effort to spread knowledge about the proper handling of refrigerants, ASHRAE is developing additional materials for its membership.

ASHRAE’s educational relationship with UNEP will continue with a second course, “Sound Management of Refrigerants,” which is being developed and is expected to be released later this year.