The United Nations Environment Programme’s United for Efficiency (U4E) initiative, Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE) and the Energy Commission of Ghana are excited to unveil a new video documenting the implementation of the ECOFRIDGES GO programme in Ghana. Through interactions with different stakeholders, the video explores the key benefits realised by the programme and its anticipated impacts.
According to the IPCC, West Africa constitutes one of the many hotspots of climate change, with temperatures already peaking and menacing food security. Amid the challenges imposed by accelerating global warming, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region, composed of 15 states from Senegal to Nigeria, is experiencing significant economic and population growth, the latter projected to double during the second half of the century. The combination of these factors drives an exponential demand for cooling systems, notably in the residential sector. Alas, inhabitants of the region often purchase used, end-of-life appliances, such as refrigerators, exported by European countries.
Unsurprisingly, these appliances are less efficient, powered with more polluting refrigerants, but still popular because they are less expensive to acquire. As second-hand appliances have short lifespans, they need to be replaced frequently. This cycle creates a massive e-waste crisis, filling up the landfills of several African countries.
With the objective to tackle this spiralling problem, ECOFRIDGES GO promotes the adoption of energy-efficient and climate-friendly domestic refrigerators and room air conditioners. To reach these goals, the programme harnesses an innovative Green On-wage (GO) financing mechanism to lower financial barriers hampering the purchase of higher-performing products by the Ghanaian population. The cornerstone of the programme, the mechanism relies on the availability of concessional green credit facilities enabling purchase in instalments and repayments through monthly salary deductions to support the replacement of used but operational equipment with newer certified solutions, increasing the affordability of those usually more expensive appliances. A take back scheme is planned for customers to return their end-of-life cooling appliances in exchange of a direct financial incentive, ensuring proper recycling and treatment of the discarded devices. Through ECOFRIDGES GO, partner local financial institutions have unlocked sufficient financing to support the purchase of thousands of sustainable cooling appliances and the replacement of old existing equipment.
As Mr Hubert Zan, Assistant manager at the Energy Efficiency Inspection & Enforcement Commission of Ghana puts it, “What the financial mechanism ECOFRIDGES GO is supposed to do is target salaried workers, for which the upfront cost of these appliances are paid for by the participating banks, and then offer a period of twelve months to pay at zero percent interest.”
By May 2022, ECOFRIDGES GO achieved:
- 1,838 new certified refrigerators and ACs sold.
- GHS 8 million/US$ 1 million of finance mobilized/unlocked.
- 17,436 MWh of total energy savings/residential electricity demand reduced over the lifetime of the equipment.
- 14,445 tonnes CO2 of emission saved over the lifetime of the equipment.
These promising figures confirm the consumer interest in acquiring efficient and eco-friendly appliances, and reaffirm the necessity of providing financing solutions to boost their accessibility. Mr Amoani Owusu-Ntow, a government worker and ECOFRIDGES GO customer who benefitted from the loan, testifies on the energy savings the five stars ECOFRIDGES GO labelled appliances enable, “Since I bought this fridge there has been a significant drop in my electricity bills. I obviously can see that although this fridge is bigger than the old one, it consumes far less energy.”
Recounting the journey of the programme so far, the video features several other interviews with partner vendors, government officials, and testimonies from beneficiaries. Hear first-hand stories behind the impact numbers, exposing the real-life difficulties ECOFRIDGES GO has helped Ghanaians overcome and sharing the advantages of shifting to energy-efficient cooling appliances. From savings on the electricity bills to relieving demand on the power sector, and through mitigating implications on the environment by avoiding the most polluting refrigerants, the candid interviews with key local stakeholders and beneficiaries reveal the model’s various effective benefits.
The video not only traces the already achieved market transformation in Ghana, but also highlights its potential for scale-up via different paths. The programme could be extended by adding new climate-friendly solutions, engaging more technology providers and partner banks, and opening it up to new horizons by replicating it in other countries. Similar efforts are underway already in Senegal (on-bill financing) and Rwanda (on-wage financing).
ECOFRIDGES GO is made possible by funding from the Clean Cooling Collaborative and in-kind contributions from Ghana Energy Commission, Ghana Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nations Environment Programme’s United for Efficiency (UNEP U4E) initiative and the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE).
To view the video, click here.