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Home » Building energy-efficiency into HFC phasedown for accelerated transition to clean cooling

Building energy-efficiency into HFC phasedown for accelerated transition to clean cooling

By combining efforts to phase down the use of super-polluting HFC refrigerants with improvements in the energy efficiency of cooling equipment, we can accelerate the global transition to clean cooling for all as well as its associated climate benefits.

Research indicates that the mitigation benefits of the Kigali Amendment could be doubled by simultaneously enhancing the energy efficiency of cooling equipment. Image credit: Clean Cooling Coalition

Research indicates that the mitigation benefits of the Kigali Amendment could be doubled by simultaneously enhancing the energy efficiency of cooling equipment. Image credit: Clean Cooling Coalition

In October 2016, at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda, more than 170 countries agreed to amend the protocol to ensure the ongoing protection of our planet’s climate and ozone layer through action on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in addition to other fluorinated gases (F-gases).

The agreement, labelled the Kigali Amendment, aims to phase down the production and use of super-polluting HFCs, which are thousands of times more harmful to our climate than CO2 and commonly used as refrigerants in cooling appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators. The goal of the amendment is to reduce HFC consumption by 80% by 2047, and according to the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), if fully implemented, it is estimated to avoid up to 0.5°C in global warming by 2100.

Research conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) indicates that the mitigation benefits of the Kigali Amendment could be doubled by simultaneously enhancing the energy efficiency of cooling equipment. Based on this, transitioning to energy-efficient, climate-friendly cooling could avoid up to 1°C of global warming by the end of the century.

Integrating energy efficiency into the HFC phasedown

In the spring of 2017, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (now Clean Cooling Collaborative) was created to support this global transition. Through our ‘Strengthening for Efficiency’ portfolio, we were able to work with Montreal Protocol institutions and associated agencies, parties, and companies to integrate energy efficiency improvements into the HFC phasedown.

Our approach was to work with ‘early-adopter’ governments and companies that would then catalyse similar work elsewhere. Our work included:

  • Supporting ambitious governments to develop national cooling action plans (NCAPs);
  • Providing capacity building and training by “twinning” National Ozone Unit (NOU) officers with their nation’s energy efficiency policymakers; and
  • Supporting manufacturers’ industrial conversion efforts.

National Cooling Action Plans

NCAPs provide a long-term perspective for policies that can simultaneously address national cooling demands and the need to combat climate change through energy efficiency improvements and the HFC phasedown. The plans cover multiple sectors, including space cooling in buildings, industrial production of cooling equipment, cold-chain logistics, and servicing of existing equipment.

As K-CEP, we supported the development of 27 NCAPs, nine of which have been published in Chile, China, Cuba, Ghana, Lebanon, Panama, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad and Tobago. As detailed in our Phase I Impact Report, once realised, these nine published NCAPs will cumulatively avoid over 2.1 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (Gt CO2e) and will save consumers over $510 billion by 2050, both as a result of reduced electricity consumption.

As the world’s largest cooling technology consumer, producer, and exporter, the impact of China’s Green and High-Efficiency Cooling Action Plan could be particularly profound.

To facilitate national action on cooling and support the development of NCAPs around the world, the Cool Coalition set up an NCAP working group. The group drew upon the experience and knowledge of organisations and countries that have been working on NCAPs to chart a holistic but modular methodology for the development of NCAPs. Guidance covers cooling comprehensively and include various sectors and end-uses as well as both met and unmet cooling needs.

In addition to supporting the development of NCAPs, we’ve also worked with countries to link their NCAPs to their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and other long-term climate strategies in order to enhance national ambition through the UNFCCC process.

Capacity building and training

A lack of communication and coordination between different government bodies often meant that efforts to improve cooling were siloed, with energy agencies working on energy efficiency policies and climate agencies working on the F-gas and HFC phasedown under the Montreal Protocol and its Kigali Amendment. If our work was to have meaningful impact, we needed to enhance collaboration among these key stakeholders.

We hosted regional ‘twinning’ workshops to help build the capacity of ozone and energy ministry officials in developing countries to combine energy efficiency improvements with progress in the F-gas transition. The workshops trained national ozone officers and energy policymakers in market transformation and policy development. Workshops also covered solutions such as efficiency standards and labels and strategies to integrate efficiency expertise in training programs for the cooling service sector.

In partnership with UNEP’s United for Efficiency (U4E) initiative and UNEP OzonAction, we provided all 147 developing country governments with capacity building and training on energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling. This program helped countries enhance the expertise of their government staff, as well as those working in the maintenance and servicing sectors, which is a key part of transitioning to an efficient, climate-friendly cooling sector.

For further reading related to this topic you can go to the Clean Cooling Collaborative website.