Green Cooling Initiative: innovative solutions for sustainable cooling

Project description

Title: Green Cooling Initiative II
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conserva-tion, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the Interna-tional Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Global
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Authorities, Kenya; Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Ghana; Ministry of Environment, Energy & Climate Change, Seychelles 
Overall term: 2017 to 2021



Refrigerators and air conditioners cause around 10 to 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Approximately one third of these emissions is due to refrigerant leakage, while two thirds result from appliance electricity consumption. Rising temperatures, population growth, advancing prosperity and urbanisation further boost the demand for cooling equipment, particularly in emerging and developing countries, thus accelerating climate change.

Modern cooling appliances consume little energy and operate using natural refrigerants that have no adverse impact on the ozone layer or the climate. In emerging and developing countries, inefficient units with obsolete technology are often used. These consume a large amount of energy and use fluorinated gases (F-gases), which lead to emissions that damage the ozone layer and exacerbate climate change. 

In particular, there is a lack of trained cooling technicians and experience with new and innovative solutions, while the shortage of spare parts and access to natural refrigerants further impede the dissemi-nation of sustainable cooling technologies. There are also no uniform standards for the design, operation or safety requirements of cooling units. Stakeholders and initiatives in the field of green cooling are inadequately networked and receive little promotional funding.


The adoption of sustainable and innovative cooling technologies that use natural refrigerants in emerging and developing countries has grown. Improved technology transfer reduces GHG emissions and boosts energy efficiency. The cooling sector is integrated into the national climate strategies, and training and accreditation systems for cooling technicians have been established.



The Green Cooling Initiative (GCI) is an international forum that connects policy-makers, technology providers and consumers, research institutes and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the field of refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC).

A website, which includes country-specific emissions data for various classes of appliances, and international events enable the exchange and flow of information between the different stakeholders. 

In three pioneering countries (Kenya, Ghana and Seychelles), GCI offers policy advice and helps to develop efficient processes and structures (capacity building).

The initiative draws up and implements country-specific programmes based on guidelines for sustainable RAC technologies. To achieve this, it involves policy-makers, industry and society. Innovative technologies are being piloted in line with the national conditions to illustrate the huge savings potential in the cooling sector.

In addition, the project advances the development of training institutions and certification mechanisms and promotes private and public climate financing.



A comprehensive study has examined the value chains for the provision of refrigeration. Companies are using this study to support their decision-making for investing in the production of green cooling units. Sector inventories have been produced for the partner countries Kenya and Ghana, and used to identify the demand for technology. Initial proposals for incorporating the cooling sector into the na-tional climate strategies are available. 

Three technology partnerships have been successfully implemented – in the hotel sector, fish refrigeration and in using natural refrigerants in room air conditioners. In the long-term, these partnerships are able to help reduce climate-damaging emissions and create new jobs. 

Sustainable cooling technologies and natural refrigerants are issues that are highlighted in international climate talks. This contributes to the project’s cooperation with the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).