Reducing environmental and climate impact from cooling systems

Project description

Title: Green Cooling Initiative
Commissioned by: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
Country: Kenya
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment and Forestry
Overall term: 2018 to 2021


What do an office worker in Nairobi, a fisherman at Lake Victoria and a doctor in the Kenyan hinterland have in common? What sounds like a riddle, has a serious background: they all depend on cooling - whether it be in the form of air conditioners in overheated cities, cold chains for fresh food or cooling of vital vaccines in rural areas. Rising temperatures and population, progressing urbanisation and economic growth are driving up the worldwide cooling demand, particularly in developing countries and emerging economies.

Refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) appliances often use fluorinated gases (F-Gases, mainly HFCs) with a high global warming potential (GWP) as refrigerants. HFCs are further used as blowing agents in the foam sector. In combination with low energy efficiency and carbon intensive energy production, the RAC sector causes significant and rising amounts of greenhouse gases (GHG). On the downside: Ironically, by cooling our environment in the short term, we heat up the climate in the long term.

On the upside: The cooling sector, as the major consumer of HFCs, offers considerable potential for mitigation. However, insufficient information on and access to alternative technologies as well as lacking safety and certification standards pose the main barriers for developing countries to initiate the transition to environmentally friendly technologies in the RAC and foam sector (RAC&F). Countries therefore rely on international knowledge exchange regarding technology transformation, standardisation and capacity building in order to include environment and climate-friendly cooling and foam technologies into their national strategies and markets.


The RAC&F sector increasingly uses green cooling technologies. GHG emissions of cooling systems are reduced.


The Green Cooling Initiative (GCI) builds on an international network of countries, institutions and private sector stakeholders to achieve a GHG mitigation and a reduction of energy consumption. The main partners in accelerating the transformation towards sustainable green cooling technologies are the Seychelles, Ghana and Kenya.

GCI combines the following approaches: 

  • Promoting natural refrigerants and energy efficiency
  • Establishing advanced training institutions and certification schemes
  • Encouraging public and private climate finance for leverage

In Kenya, the GCI aims at integrating the immense mitigation potential of the RAC&F sector into the global climate and energy discussion, thereby initiating technology and policy transformation. 
The project develops the country specific sector strategies including GHG inventories, mitigation scenarios, technical roadmaps and policy recommendations fostering green cooling technologies and showcasing its impact in pilot projects.

Furthermore, the project conducts analyses of the RAC servicing sector and training institutions supporting the development and implementation of technician trainings and certification schemes. Additionally, GCI conducts finance sector analyses and supports Kenya in obtaining funds from international climate finance mechanisms to implement green cooling projects.

Finally, GCI continues to expand its Green Cooling Network providing cooperation between all RAC&F sector stakeholders worldwide and spreading advanced and manifold information concerning green cooling technologies.


Green Cooling Africa Initiative (GCAI): In Kenya, GCAI supported the government in developing a technology roadmap which proposes and explains climate-friendly and energy-efficient technology options for relevant areas of RAC. The technology roadmap included a national inventory, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tier 2 methodology, of energy use and GHG emissions of relevant RAC appliances. Focus was placed on the commercial refrigeration sub-sector. The inventory serves as a basis for establishing emission reduction scenarios. It has traced the sales and stock data for the past five years (2010 to 2015) and provides projected inventory data on an annual basis until 2030. 

Green Cooling Technology Partnership: A cold storage room for fish has been constructed in Mfangano Island in Homabay County in Lake Victoria. The Fish cold store is a pilot project in cooperation with a Kenyan private investor through co-investment. The cold store has state-of-the-art insulation, highly efficient refrigeration and ice-making appliances that use natural refrigerants and will be equipped with solar photovoltaic power to reduce electricity grid dependency.