Developed as part of the Caribbean Cooling Initiative (C-COOL), Jamaica’s National Cooling Strategy (JNCS) looks set to become the second such strategy adopted in the region, after a final refinement of its recommendations was undertaken by various inter-agency working groups prior to its submission to Cabinet. The commitment demonstrated by Jamaica as it enters the final stage toward approval, and subsequent implementation, is an excellent example for other countries seeking to meet their cooling needs in an economically sound and climate-friendly manner.
Air conditioners, refrigerators and other essential cooling solutions underpin the health, hospitality, education, wholesale and retail, commercial and residential sectors – particularly in the tropical climates of the Caribbean. In the region, as much as 40–60% of energy usage is for air-conditioning. According to Vincent Sweeney, Head of UNEP’s Caribbean Sub-Regional Office, “Switching to renewable energy and energy efficiency matters could tackle 55% of the total GHG emissions. We therefore need to back energy efficiency and the region can be a leader, as it has been for electrification of Bus Rapid Transit systems.”
The energy wasted by appliances in the Caribbean is often worse than that for products sold in markets with well-established energy efficiency programmes. Fortunately, current actions at the regional and national level will soon have minimum energy efficiency requirements so that Jamaica, and its neighbours, are not dumping grounds for models that are illegal for sale in well-regulated markets. Growing local populations, climate change and the demand for improved quality of life are driving greater demand for cooling products and services. If this is met with inefficient products, the energy wasted will have profoundly negative impacts on Caribbean economies.
To holistically address these issues, the Jamaican Government started developing the JNCS with UNEP’s United for Efficiency (U4E) team through their joint C-COOL project in 2018, with funding from the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program. The strategy document is in its final stage of development. According to David Barrett, C-COOL National Consultant, UNEP U4E, “The JNCS recognizes that the world is changing around us, and that Jamaica has an opportunity to pursue innovative solutions that meet our development interests in a sustainable way. The recommended actions focus on addressing the diverse demands for cooling in ways where business can thrive and resources can be more optimally put to use.”
The development process involved many national stakeholders over the past three years. To finalize the Strategy, four thematic inter-agency working groups have been formed to refine the proposed measures and actions. Each group has a Chair from a lead agency, and at least five member organizations, to ensure that a variety of perspectives are properly translated into the final recommended actions. The consultation process promoted the discussion of national priorities and identified actions that could be implemented to find resolution. Such ideas are best expressed in the words of the Chairs of the working groups.
“Through the JNCS we aim to incorporate effective legislation and mechanisms for market monitoring, verification and enforcement along the entire cooling market chain to drive compliance with the country’s goals on climate change, ozone depletion and efficient energy use. NEPA as the lead agency in the JNCS will strongly support this strategy in a pathway to its implementation.”, said Anthony McKenzie, Director Environmental Management and Conservation, National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), who is Chair of the Policy, Regulations and Enforcement Working Group. NEPA is also the lead agency for the JNCS.
“The JNCS is very timely as Jamaica is currently working in conjunction with CROSQ on establishing new energy efficiency standards for cooling equipment. The Energy Efficiency Laboratory at the BSJ has increased testing capacities for the benefit of the country and is now the Centre of Excellence for energy efficiency testing in the Caribbean region. Among the recommended actions in the JNCS, is the establishment of a standard for refrigerant testing to underpin environmental considerations aligned with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.”, said Dr. Wendell Richards, Head, Standards Compliance Department, National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA) and Chair of the Standards and Compliance Working Group.
“Innovative programmes to promote efficient cooling products using climate friendly refrigerants need to be promoted locally in order to assist consumers and businesses to save on their electricity bills. We are hoping that this will be a key objective of the JNCS, along with reducing global warming.”, said Dr. Fabian B. Lewis, Director of the Research and Analysis Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Public Service (MOFPS), and chair of the Financial and Fiscal Working Group.
According to Dr. Earle WiIson, Programme Director at the University of Technology (UTECH) and Chair of the Awareness and Capacity Working Group, “The main challenge we intend to overcome is how to build capacity for key stakeholders in the country to properly design buildings that reduce the need for mechanical cooling. Where it is needed, equipment needs to be properly sized, installed and maintained to provide precise operation. Also, we need to raise awareness on energy conservation and climate-friendly choices along with increasing and upgrading capacities in the new and emerging technologies, which the JNCS rightly underscores.”
Based on the U4E Country Savings Assessment for Jamaica, implementation of the JNCS could result in an annual reduction in electricity use of 340 GWh by 2030, equivalent to 11.5% of current national electricity use and worth $160 million USD, and reduce electricity CO2 emissions by over 360 thousand tonnes, equivalent to taking 200 thousand passenger cars off the road.
For more information on the JNCS and U4E’s work in the Caribbean, contact Marco Duran at email@example.com.