A new ‘Policy Fundamentals Guide’ from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) helps policymakers to support the transition to energy-efficient and alternative refrigerant-based systems for household appliances in their respective markets.
The United Nations Environment Programme is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
In a bid to support the uptake of HFC alternatives, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report calls on policymakers to implement market-based instruments such as labeling schemes to help trigger wider uptake of alternative refrigerants in domestic refrigerators.
The report – published on 24 May – is part of a series of United4Efficiency (U4E) reports on five product groups; lighting, room air conditioners, electric motors, and distribution transformers.
The Policy Fundamentals Guide seeks to aid the establishment of successful energy efficiency programmes.
United4Efficiency is a public-private partnership led by UNEP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Copper Association (ICA), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), among others.
It supports developing countries in their transition to energy-efficient appliances and equipment, by informing policymakers, identifying and promoting global best practices, and offering assistance to governments.
UNEP recommends developing a five-stage national energy-efficient appliance strategy, including:
1. The implementation of standards and regulations
It recommends adhering to the Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS). The international standard limits the maximum amount of energy that may be consumed by an energy-using device in performing a specified task.
2. Adapted policy framework
UNEP recommends the implementation of labelling schemes and other market-based instruments, such as information and communication campaigns, as well as regulatory incentives.
3. Finance and financial delivery mechanisms
Tax breaks and electric utility on-bill financing – which allows utilities to incur the cost of a clean energy upgrade, which is then paid on the utility bill – are highlighted as effective mechanisms to support the industry in its transition. Other mechanisms such as pay-as-you-save schemes based on shared savings transactions through Energy Service Companies are also put forward.
4. Monitoring, Verification and Enforcement (MVE)
The report argues that monitoring and verifying product efficiency and declarations of conformity are essential to ensure the application of an overall policy strategy. Actions taken against non-compliant suppliers of MEPS should be covered under an enforcement policy, it argues. UNEP stresses the importance of sharing information collected between countries and regions, in order to ensure a successful market transition.
5. Environmentally Sound Management of Refrigerator Products
A recycling and disposal program should be implemented for HFCs and other hazardous substances, in accordance with global best practice standards.
The report recommends three further refrigeration-specific measures:
1. The application of the test method IEC 32552:2015, which UNEP considers to be as the most globally relevant test; 2. A controlling system to ensure that both refrigerant and foam-blowing agent gases used have zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 20 or less; and 3. An end-of-life recycling programme for old refrigerators containing Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases).
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