Green Cooling Initiative
Global greenhouse gas emissions from the RAC sector
The worldwide RAC industry is booming. Growing populations and global warming have led to a continuous rise in demand for air conditioning and refrigeration, resulting in higher GHG emissions that only exacerbate the situation. This trend can be greatly mitigated by transitioning away from highly climate-damaging HCFC and HFC refrigerants, and moving towards alternatives with low GWPs, such as natural refrigerants. However, the time to act is now – ahead of the current HFC phase-down schedule as stipulated in the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The transition to low-GWP refrigerants offers benefits apart from reduced GHG emissions. Such ancillary benefits include improved energy efficiency, which helps cut costs, as well as the creation of local jobs when refrigerants and appliances are manufactured locally.
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Aggregated RAC emissions are based on two different stock calculation methods:
- The first method is a detailed calculation, based on sophisticated models using multiple predictors (generalised linear models and additive models). It is used for three appliance systems where sufficient data is available: split residential air conditioners, car air conditioners and domestic refrigerators.
- The second method is a simpler modelling approach based on ratios of RAC systems per inhabitants. This approach was used to determine the existing stock of ten additional appliance systems: self-contained air conditioners, commercial ducted splits, multi-splits, air conditioning chillers, mobile air conditioning in buses, stand-alone equipment (commercial refrigeration), condensing units (commercial refrigeration), centralised units in supermarkets, centralised industrial systems, and refrigerated transport. This calculated stock is then used to derive current and future unit sales figures and finally, to calculate the emissions and the potential to reduce emissions.
The data shown here represents the best possible estimation based on the available data. Numbers from the two calculation approaches were combined and some individual appliance systems (such as rooftop ducted air conditioners, integral and condensing units in industrial refrigeration) could not be covered by either method due to a lack of accurate data. The figures may not fully reflect the actual situation in some countries. However, the results do give a general overview of emissions in the RAC subsectors.
For more information, please refer to > Methodology.