The revised European F-Gas regulation bans refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) of above 150 in domestic refrigeration units from January 2015. This basically leaves natural refrigerants and a few flammable HFCs and u-HFCs as alternatives.
In the US, hydrocarbon refrigerants were banned in domestic refrigeration because of their flammability until 2011, but then admitted after field tests proved them to be safe.
Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and labelling schemes were introduced for domestic refrigeration as early as the 1980s and this has contributed considerably to making them more energy efficient. In 2006, more than 50 countries had MEPS regarding domestic refrigeration units that are regularly updated. The ecodesign directive in the EU has introduced especially stringent MEPS.