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Real Alternatives 4 LIFE


AREA supports the objective of achieving fully sustainable cooling. The HFC phase-down scheme stipulated by the Fgas Regulation is stimulating the development and uptake of alternative technologies, and notably the so-called “natural refrigerants” (CO2, hydrocarbons and ammonia), all of which present safety risks (pressure, flammability, toxicity).

AREA strongly believes that mandatory certification of installers should also apply to these types of equipment working with natural refrigerant in order to ensure their safe, efficient and reliable installation and maintenance.

In this context, AREA has engaged in the Real Alternatives 4 LIFE Project, which provides the state-of-the-art learning resources to achieve this objective.

The Real Alternatives 4 LIFE Project

AREA is a project partner of the EU Funded Project Real Alternatives 4 Life - BLENDED LEARNING FOR ALTERNATIVE REFRIGERANTS
The aim of the project is to produce new learning materials and practical training programmes for Refrigeration Air conditioning and Heat Pump (RACHP) technicians with the ambitious scope to extend awareness of the use of alternative refrigerants with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) across Europe. The phase down of the use of Fluorinated Gases under the EU F Gas Regulation is driving the increased use of alternative low GWP refrigerants. The awareness of the environmental benefits of changing to low GWP refrigerants is increasing and the demand for cooling services continues to grow. Low GWP alternative refrigerants offer a solution to the issue of harmful direct emissions that contribute to climate change, but they bring with them technical difficulties requiring a higher level of competence amongst technicians to ensure safe handling and operation.

The project is aimed at upskilling and training installers to use alternative refrigerants in a safe, efficient and reliable manner, as well as producing training resources that can be replicated throughout the EU and beyond through the training and licensing of training providers who can deliver practical courses based on these materials, ensuring long term sustainability and replicability of the project results. The content of the learning material focuses on the following alternative refrigerants: Flammables (Hydrocarbon, HFO/A2L, R32), Carbon Dioxide and Ammonia.

Resources developed as part of the project offer innovative blended learning - a mix of e-learning, face-to-face training materials, practical exercises, assessments and an e-library of learning resources - the programme has brought together industry knowledge and expertise from across Europe about alternative refrigerants. Industry stakeholders drawn from employers, manufacturers, trade associations and professional institutes have contributed learning material, advised on content, helped to pilot and to promote the programme as it developed.  The free multi-lingual learning materials are available for individual development or use as classroom training materials. They include e-learning content, electronic tools, a comprehensive library gathered from existing resources.  The e-library contains over 100 useful industry resources.


  • Objective 1 - To increase knowledge levels of the workforce of 228,000 technicians on the safe use of low GWP alternative refrigerants Carbon Dioxide, Ammonia and flammables (Hydrocarbons, R32 and HFO blends)
  • Objective 2 - To address inconsistencies in the skills levels across the EU in handling low GWP alternative refrigerants by providing training materials developed with input from a wide range of technical experts within 13 EU countries, to identify and share best practice knowledge across member states.
  • Objective 3 - To overcome equipment user and distributor concerns over safety, reliability, containment, efficiency and standards compliance in low GWP refrigerant use by providing shared best practice experience, case studies of success and by carrying out a comprehensive awareness raising campaign across the EU.
  • Objective 4 - To support effective implementation of EU F-Gas Regulation requirement for information to be made available by Member States to operatives on low GWP alternative refrigerant technologies to support carbon emissions reduction Climate Change Policy, LIFE Climate actions in Governance and Information and Climate Change Mitigation.

The project is of strategic relevance to member countries of the EU as it addresses critical policy areas of climate protection, fight against global warming, and effective implementation of EU environmental regulation.

Please visit the website of the Project to get further information.

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