The Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) United for Efficiency (U4E) initiative are pleased to announce the start of a new, two-year project to help Brazil make the transition to energy-efficient and more climate-friendly commercial refrigerators.
The project will provide a significant contribution to Brazil’s National Determination Contribution goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 37% below 2005 levels, with 10% efficiency gains. It is expected to result in more than 9 TWh in direct annual energy savings, over 1.2 billion USD savings in annual electricity costs and 6 million tonnes of CO2 avoided annually. Although 80% of Brazil’s electricity is provided from renewable energy sources, the 44% increase in energy consumption anticipated between 2019 and 2029 will increase pressure on these renewable sources and necessitate an increase in generation capacity from non-renewable sources. By reducing the electricity consumption in commercial refrigerators, this project will help mitigate against the increase in energy demand and lower the reliance on increased fossil fuel electricity generation.
The project focuses on the commercial sector –comprising mainly wholesalers, retailers (e.g., supermarkets), hotels and restaurants– where there is a high potential to reduce energy consumption by implementing energy efficiency standards and regulations. It is estimated that cooling accounts for more than 65% of the energy consumed at an average supermarket in Brazil, with around 25% of this for refrigeration appliances only.
Although Brazil already has policies in place to regulate the energy consumption of products such as domestic refrigerating appliances, electric ovens, lighting and air conditioners, there are currently no minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) or energy efficiency labels in place for commercial refrigeration equipment. A first step in the project will therefore be to conduct a study on international best practices to support the implementation of MEPS, labels and endorsement stamps for commercial refrigeration in Brazil. The project working group, which is comprised of representatives from key Government, public, research and commercial organisations, will then develop specific technical recommendations to implement these regulations for commercial refrigerators and provide training to local stakeholders on the subject.
To support the effective implementation of these regulations, the project will provide training to increase the capacity of the national laboratories, the supervisory agency (INMETRO – National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality) and the National Electric Energy Conservation Program (PROCEL) on monitoring, verification and enforcement of the proposed standards, especially in relation to testing standards and the development of a product database to facilitate market surveillance of commercial refrigerators.
Sustainable public procurement is a tool to leverage the purchasing power of governments to generate demand for sustainable products and services. A key output of the project will be the development of recommendations and guidelines to support institutional procurers in Brazil to use sustainable public procurement to leverage their purchasing power to generate demand for higher performance commercial refrigeration products.
The benefits of sustainable commercial refrigerators and the proposed MEPS and labelling policies will be promoted to stakeholders using communication campaign materials and infographics developed as part of the project. A dedicated regional workshop will also communicate these benefits to neighbouring countries so they can leverage on the content, approach and lessons learned.