Fluorinated greenhouse gases


1.1.2020 upcoming placing on the market prohibitions (517/2014, Annex III, EUR-Lex)

  • Refrigerators and freezers for commercial use (hermetically sealed equipment) that contain HFCs with GWP of 2500 or more
  • Stationary refrigeration equipment, that contains, or whose functioning relies upon, HFCs with GWP of 2500 or more except equipment intended for application designed to cool products to temperatures below -50 C
  • Movable room air-conditioning equipment (hermetically sealed equipment which is movable between rooms by the end user) that contain HFCs with GWP of 150 or more
  • Foams that contain HFCs with GWP of 150 or more except when required to meet national safety standards; Extruded polystyrene (XPS) 1.1.2020, other foams 1.1.2023

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) are a group of man-made greenhouse gases. They include:

  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • perfluorocarbons (PFCs)
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6)

The emissions of F-gases are fairly low, they account for approximately 2% of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the European Union. However, F-gases are powerful greenhouse gases. Global-warming potential (GWP) is a relative measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) has a GWP value 1. The GWP of F-gases is hundreds or up to tens of thousands greater than the GWP of CO2.

F-gases are often used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances in refrigeration and air conditioning equipments and in heat pumps.

New EU Regulation on Fluorinated greenhouse gases applies from 1.1.2015


Main features of the new EU Regulation include:


  • A phase down of the quantities of HFCs that can be placed on the EU market. The phase down is applied to the aggregate amount of HFCs (measured in equivalent tonnes of CO2) and takes place in a series of steps, starting with a cap in 2015, followed by a 7% cut in 2016 and reaching a 79% cut in 2030.


The phase down is accompanied by a quota system that will specify the amounts of HFCs that individual companies can place on the market, based on sales reported under the existing F-Gas Regulation plus an allowance for new entrants. Production or import of HFCs into the EU requires a quota. The quota system is administered by the European commission. (See Articles 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the regulation)


  • A number of bans on the use of certain F-Gases in some new equipment (see Article 11 and Annex III)
  • A ban on the use of very high GWP HFCs (GWP ≥ 2500) for the servicing of certain types of refrigeration equipment (this ban applies to existing equipment). (See Article 13)
  • Some strengthening of existing obligations related to leak checking and repairs, F-Gas recovery and technician training (See e.g. Articles 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 10)


The new regulation:



The European commissions website:


Emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases and their emission sources

The main sources of F-gas emissions in Finland are refrigeration and air conditioning equipments, technical aerosols and metered dose inhalers, foam blowing and foam products, electrical equipment and a group of smaller emission sources. Emissions occur during the manufacturing, use and disposal of the products and equipment containing F-gases. Bulk F-gases are not produced in Finland.

The emissions of F-gases amounted to 1,1 Tg CO2 eq., which is 1,6% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Finland. The total greenhouse gas emissions were 66,8 Tg CO2 eq. Their share of the total emissions is small but their emissions have risen strongly since the beginning of the 1990’s. In 2011, the emissions were nearly eleven-fold compared with the emissions of 1995.

The key driver behind the growing emission trend has been substitution of ozone depleting substances (ODS) by F-gases, especially with HFCs, in many applications. Restrictions of ODS in mid-1990's led to rapid growth of the use of HFCs as refrigerant agents. In addition the number of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment has increased.

Ozone depleting substances are regulated under the Montreal Protocol. ODS emissions are not reported in the greenhouse gas inventory although many of them are also powerful greenhouse gases.

Emission projections of fluorinated greenhouse gases

A Project in 2008 and 2009 on the emission abatement options and cost effects for F-gases compiled extensive background information on the current technology and availability of alternative options on the different F-gas emission source sectors in Finland. The information was used to produce emission projections and emission abatement cost estimates for F-gases. A project report is available in English.

Emission projections were updated in 2010 and in 2012. A project report is available in English from the 2010 update.

Tasks of the Finnish Environment Institute related to F-gases

The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) acts as the competent authority of the EU regulation concerning fluorinated greenhouse gases. The Finnish Environment Institute also gathers the necessary data and calculates the annual emissions of F-gases and prepares emission projections. The emissions are reported to the UNFCCC and EU commission as part of Finland’s national greenhouse gas inventory report. Statistics Finland is responsible for the national greenhouse gas reporting. 

Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) monitors the qualifications of operators and persons who service and install equipment containing F-gases and maintains records of competence.  The regulations on leakage inspection of equipment are supervised by ELY centers and the municipal environmental protection authorities, but also some other authorities in their respective fields.

Further information

For questions related to Ozone and F-gases, please contact: ods.f-kaasut@ymparisto.fi

Senior Adviser Nufar Finel, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE),  nufar.finel@ymparisto.fi


Published 2014-12-19 at 14:41, updated 2019-09-04 at 14:48