green cooling initiative: Overview


The role of the public sector

The public sector plays a key role in the transformation of industry sectors. It can contribute to the transfer, promotion and dissemination of green cooling technologies. Conversely, if the public sector fails to create such an environment, it causes limitations to innovative and transformative developments in the private sector.

For nearly all cooling appliances there are energy efficient technologies available that use natural refrigerants instead of fluorinated gases. Natural refrigerants are less expensive and less harmful to the climate and the environment than synthetically made F-gases. Consumers benefit from using low energy green cooling technologies with natural refrigerants.
Policy measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the RAC sectors target both the use of fluorinated gases and the energy consumption of appliances.  Additionally, there are policy measures promoting the transition to climate friendly technology alternatives.

There is extensive experience available in nearly all countries concerning the reduction of emissions from the use of refrigerants. This experience comes from the phase-out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) under the provisions of the Montreal Protocol. With regard to regulating the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the EU has moved furthest by introducing a phase-down schedule for the use of HFCs in the European F-Gas-Regulation.

Policy instruments

Policy makers have various possibilities to support the transition to green cooling. One approach is to control and restrict the use of refrigerants with a high ozone depleting potential or high global warming potential. Examples for this kind of policy instruments are bans or quotas.

Another set of policy instruments aims at reducing indirect emissions by improving energy efficiency and promoting energy efficient products. These approaches include labelling, minimum energy performance standards, and similar schemes.

Additionally, financial instruments can provide economic incentives for a faster market penetration of green cooling technologies.


International agreements and regulations

Many refrigerants are ozone depleting substances and greenhouse gases, and they are therefore subject to international agreements such as the Montreal Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Best practice: EU regulation

The EU has adopted two directives dealing with fluorinated refrigerants. Regulatory changes in Europe are expected to have a trickle-down effect in other markets. Other countries might also take EU legislation as example for their own laws.