Market assessments carried out by German development agency GIZ in numerous countries show that accelerating the transition to more energy-efficient split ACs with R290 refrigerant will play a key role in creating a more sustainable HVAC&R sector. 

The assessments are described in GIZ Proklima’s “R290 Split Air Conditioners Resource Guide,” which was recently launched during a webinar on “R290 split Air Conditioners – Discussing ways to unlock global and European market uptake.” 

“Leapfrogging to high-efficiency appliances using R290 reduces the energy consumption and GHG emissions and thus provides a significant opportunity to contribute to national climate action plans,” according to the guide. “A market share of 50% [by] 2050 may cut down total GHG emission by 25%.”

The webinar took place on October 23 and featured four presentations centered around the use of R290 in split air conditioning around the world. Presentations showed that India and China are leading the way, but uptake of the technology was still sluggish in Europe.

Philipp Munzinger, C4 Project Manager, GIZ Proklima, formally introduced the guide during the webinar, talking about the rising need for air conditioning and how R290 could offer an energy-efficient, climate-friendly alternative to harmful refrigerants used. 

Unfortunately, while there is an urgent need for action in the sector, there are several barriers to a market transition, such as safety concerns about the flammability of R290, a lack of awareness, and uncertainties about new technologies, as well as limited understanding of the proper treatment of the refrigerant during manufacturing, installing, operating, and disposing of appliances. As a result, there is often a hesitancy to invest in the technology, despite the significant potential to reduce energy costs. 

The guideline is intended to enable key stakeholders to take effective and coordinated measures to introduce energy-efficient, sustainable HVAC technology in their countries. Ultimately, it aims to encourage policymakers to facilitate the market uptake of energy-efficient split ACs using R290. 

“The significant climate impact of room ACs is not only made by fossil fuel-based electricity supply, but also a result of the predominant and massively growing use of halogenated refrigerants such as R22, R410A, and, to a growing extent, R32, with high global warming potential (GWP), which today have a significant share of the overall greenhouse gas emissions caused by air conditioners,” explained Dr. Bettina Rechenberg, Director General of Sustainable Production and Products, Waste Management at the German Environment Agency, in the introduction of the guide.  

“The guide clearly shows that single-split room ACs equipped with R290 exhibit significant environmental advantages through good energy performance and a GWP close to zero,” said Rechenberg. The guide also contributes to addressing and demystifying all aspects relevant for the successful introduction of R290 split air conditioners.

The resource guide is available for free download here

“The guide clearly shows that single-split room ACs equipped with R290 exhibit significant environmental advantages through good energy performance and a GWP close to zero.”

Dr. Bettina Rechenberg, German Environment Agency 

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