German Green Cooling Initiative

Project description

Title: German Green Cooling Initiative
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI)
Country: Global
Overall term: 2012 to 2017


Cooling systems such as refrigerators and air-conditioners cause about seven per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. While roughly one third of that share is directly attributable to refrigerant leakage, the other two thirds are due to appliance electricity consumption.

Rising temperatures, advancing prosperity, sharp population growth and urbanisation are steadily driving greater use of air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, particularly in emerging countries, and thereby accelerating climate change.

Modern cooling appliances feature low energy consumption and operate using natural refrigerants that have no adverse impact on the ozone layer or climate. The appliances used in threshold countries, however, are usually inefficient units based on obsolete technology. Such equipment consumes more power and uses fluorinated-gas (F gas) refrigerants which, when leaked, cause emissions that damage the ozone layer and exacerbate climate change. Lack of experience and shortages of trained maintenance technicians, spare parts and alternative refrigerants are impeding dissemination of sustainable cooling technology in emerging countries. There are also no uniform standards governing appliance design, operation and safety requirements. The numerous initiatives aimed at fostering sustainable refrigeration and air-conditioning systems in emerging and industrial nations are inadequately networked and have no access to promotion processes.


The Green Cooling Initiative has been established. It promotes technology transfer and networking between experts, and thereby supports the dissemination of sustainable refrigeration and air-conditioning Technologies.


The project is aimed at establishing the Green Cooling Initiative, an international forum for political decision-makers, technology providers and buyers, scientific and research institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGO) in the field of refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC). The Green Cooling Initiative has its own internet platform, and its idea- and information-sharing also takes place at international events.

The Green Cooling Initiative is thereby implementing the resolutions of the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico. These include establishing efficient processes and structures that enable accelerated transfer of technologies aimed at reducing emissions and adapting to climate change in developing countries.

The project promotes the development of guidelines, termed technology road maps, designed to promote and transfer sustainable RAC technologies. These technology road maps are disseminated in manuals and at workshops, and are implemented in model projects in partner countries to reinforce local technical capacities.


Idea and information exchange between stakeholders active in sustainable refrigeration and air-conditioning has expanded. Examples include the German-Chinese Network on Mobile Air-Conditioning, and the Green Cooling Africa Network.

A study has comprehensively examined the value chains for air-conditioning systems, refrigerated shelving and mobile air-conditioning units, and serves the RAC sector as a decision-making aid for investing in production of sustainable refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.

An interactive internet application has been developed that enables users to survey country-specific emissions data for various equipment classes. The Green Cooling Initiative is already promoting best practice-based technological cooperation projects and preparing technology road maps.

Thanks to the connection between the Green Cooling Initiative and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) of the United Nations Environment Programme, the project has succeeded in international climate change negotiations in highlighting the importance of sustainable cooling technology and the use of natural refrigerants.