ASHRAE and IIR Establish New Definitions of Five Refrigeration Keywords



ASHRAE and the International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) announced the establishment of new definitions for five refrigeration keywords. The keywords are cooling, refrigeration, chilling, freezing and cold chain.

The definitions are the result of more than a year of discussions and were established to clarify the meaning of basic terminology used in the HVAC&R industry.

“The new definitions will help those within our industry, as well as the general public, gain a clearer understanding of important refrigeration keywords that are often misused or too broadly defined,” said 2018-2019 ASHRAE President Sheila J. Hayter, P.E. “We appreciate the contributions of IIR and anticipate that the adoption of these definitions will be positive.”


To avoid confusion, the official definitions are:

(1) Removal of heat, usually resulting in a lower temperature and/or phase change
(2) Lowering temperature

(1) Cooling of a space, substance or system to lower and/or maintain its temperature below the ambient one (removed heat is rejected at a higher temperature)
(2) Artificial cooling

Cooling of a substance without freezing it

Solidification phase change of a liquid or the liquid content of a substance, usually due to cooling

Cold Chain 
Series of actions and equipment applied to maintain a product within a specified low-temperature range from harvest/production to consumption