The results of a market assessment of cooling products in the East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) regions, and recommendations from an associated draft technical note, were presented and discussed at a virtual workshop, hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) United for Efficiency (U4E) initiative, East African Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Efficiency (EACREEE) and SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) on 1 December 2020. The workshop was attended by the member state’s policymakers, regulators and other interested stakeholders.
The market assessment and technical note represent two of the key outcomes of a UNEP-U4E, EACREEE and SACREEE project working to support the harmonization of MEPS on room air conditioners and residential refrigerators (cooling products) in the EAC and SADC regions, conducted with LBNL and in coordination with the Energy Efficient Lighting and Appliances in Southern and Eastern Africa (EELA) project by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which is supporting harmonization of energy-efficient lighting policies. The cooling project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) and UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The project is set against the backdrop of increasing population, incomes, and urbanization—as well as a warming climate—which is driving up the global stock of cooling equipment such as air conditioners and refrigerating appliances, particularly in emerging economies with hot climates, including African countries. As the stock of cooling equipment rises, cooling energy consumption is expected to increase substantially. Therefore, improving energy efficiency will be critical to reducing energy, life cycle cost, peak load, and emissions impacts, as well as increasing access to cooling.
The market assessment was carried out in the EAC and SADC regions to provide information about the market dynamics and trends for cooling products in the 21 participating countries to underpin the market transformation to energy-efficient cooling products. The market assessment found that, in most countries, inefficient room air conditioners and residential refrigerators are common, and that cooling appliances have a large saving potential. Compared to inefficient products, the assessment suggests that the efficiency of room air conditioners and residential refrigerators can be improved by up to 60%. Many cooling products in the regions are imported from China, the European Union, India, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. Only Eswatini, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe have manufacturing of refrigerating appliances. There are no manufacturers of air conditioners in the regions. A more detailed summary of the results of the market assessment is given in the presentation given at the workshop, which is available on the U4E website.
The technical note was drafted by LBNL based on the findings of the market assessment and previous studies conducted by U4E and other stakeholders. It includes recommendations for:
- Harmonizing minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) and labels for both products in the regions.
- Aligning test standards with international standards and the U4E Model Regulation Guidelines.
- Implementing energy efficiency standards that consider low global warming potential refrigerants, along with improvements in safety standards.
- Establishing a regional infrastructure for product certification and registration and for testing/verifying energy efficiency performance.
- Strengthening the compliance regime for tracking compliance with the MEPS and labelling requirements that are established.
During the workshop, the participants gave their feedback on the market assessment results and the recommendations in the technical note. Both documents will be finalised by the end of the year and feed into the draft MEPS development process which will start in Q1 2021.
For further information on the project, contact:
Global Climate Action Unit
UN Environment Programme