A program in Colombia to replace old household refrigerators with new units using isobutane (R600a) as the refrigerant has benefited 17,553 people since January 2019, including participating families as well as engineers and technicians trained in servicing the new fridges.

The  program – called a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) Support Project (NSP) – was implemented by the Colombia branch of GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH), a service provider of the German government supporting sustainable development, along with the National Ozone Unit and other Colombian stakeholders. 

Until 2022, GIZ Proklima – an umbrella of projects funded by the German government, the French government, the EU and other donors supporting worldwide green cooling – participated in the NSP’s preparation and implementation, including the training of Colombian refrigeration manufacturers, technical service personnel and waste management companies.

The NSP is described on the website of the Green Cooling Initiative (GCI), a GIZ-run global initiative that promotes sustainable cooling globally.

The NSP has helped Colombian families cut energy use and saved 303,219 metric tons of CO2e emissions, said GCI.

With the aim of replacing 300,000 domestic refrigerators for low-income families, the NSP, along with the Colombian Extended Producers Responsibility (REP) program, called Red Verde, designed and implemented the national substitution program, encouraging households to hand in their old refrigerators to buy new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly ones.

“Improving the livelihoods of final beneficiaries has been the most impactful achievement of the project so far,” said GCI.

Half the cost

With €495,609 (US$537,916) of public and €3,381,220 (US$3,669,854) of private funds, the R600A refrigerators are made available to low-income families at roughly half of the cost, according to a You Tube video that outlines the history of the program. The program also benefited from the “development of a results-based finance and blended finance credit facility with Bancoldex, the Colombian development bank,” said GCI.

“The benefit of changing my fridge was energy savings,” said Damaris Quintero, a program participant featured in the video. “They know what to do with the old fridge, so it doesn’t hurt anyone or the environment.”

NSP and GIZ Proklima aimed to train more than 200 people on technical installation and servicing of refrigeration equipment with R600a. Engineers, technicians and others from Colombian refrigeration manufacturers, including Haceb, Mabe and Challenger, participated in the training.

“The benefits of having a refrigerator with energy efficiency are: money savings for the consumer and an environmental contribution to the climate change that we are facing today,” said Andrés Echavarría, a technician at Haceb. He was featured in a You Tube video of technicians participating in a workshop facilitated by the NSP in conjunction with the National Learning Service of Colombia in Giron, Santander (Colombia).

“The benefits of having a refrigerator with energy efficiency are: money savings for the consumer and an environmental contribution.”

Andrés Echavarría, Haceb technician