In the East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) regions, growing populations, urbanization and rising living standards are expected to cause a tremendous increase in energy demand by 2030 and beyond. Air conditioners and refrigerators account for a large proportion of the electricity demand in EAC and SADC and many of old air conditioners and refrigerators currently installed use unnecessarily large amounts of electricity.
To address this growing issue, the East African Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Efficiency (EACREEE), the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) and United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) United for Efficiency (U4E) initiative are collaborating to adopt approaches that provide the cooling needed without causing undue harm to the planet. The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF); UK’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP).
The cornerstone of the approach is to support the development and harmonization of minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for room air conditioners and residential refrigerators (cooling products) in both regions. Harmonized MEPS across the regions will leverage the effect of the policies by reducing barriers to trade and enabling businesses to reduce costs. In addition, best practices and lessons learned on national implementation can be shared among the countries. As a further advantage, harmonizing energy efficiency standards for cooling products with those of large markets could mitigate the dumping of inefficient and environmentally harmful products.
In the early stages of the EAC SADC cooling project, a market assessment was undertaken in both regions to collate detailed information about the current situation regarding room air conditioners and residential refrigerators in the countries. Based on the findings of the market assessments and previous studies conducted by U4E and other stakeholders, technical notes on both room air conditioners and residential refrigerators have been developed in cooperation with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) which lay out the technical recommendations which will enable the MEPS development.
In addition, Technical Committees have been established in the EAC and SADC regions, which will play a pivotal role in supporting the development of these harmonized MEPS and facilitate their adoption at a national level. The policies developed with the guidance of the Technical Committees will contribute greatly to setting the regions onto a net-zero emission pathway and also result in significant benefits for the population through a more stable grid and reduced electricity bills.
The inception workshops for the EAC and SADC Technical Committees were convened in May 2021 and June 2021 respectively. At the workshops, the findings of the market assessments and details of the associated technical notes were presented, the objective and activities of the Technical Committees were formally agreed, and the participants laid out the next steps for each Technical Committee. In these next steps, the MEPS will be drafted and refined through the guidance of the Technical Committees.
To download the market assessment report for the regions and the associated technical notes for refrigerators and air conditioners, visit the Regional EAC-SADC Project on Energy Efficient Cooling Appliances page on the U4E website. For further information on the project contact, Madeleine Edl at firstname.lastname@example.org.