A more definite piece of news concerns coolants that are being substituted for ozone-destroying CFCs. One class of coolants, called HFCs, is made by replacing the chlorine atoms of CFCs with fluorine atoms. Environmentalists had worried that HFCs would also eat up ozone. But new tests give them a clean bill of ozone-layer health.
New refrigeration technologies, spurred by the CFC ban, may not use traditional coolants at all, so you might conclude that environmental protection is a great stimulant to industrial innovation. In addition, the typical top-mount-freezer automatic-defrosting refrigerator on the market in 1972 required almost 2000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The most energy-efficient model now available, with the same features, uses only 800 kilowatt-hours per year. Research prototypes are in operation that use only 250 kilowatt-hours.