Report Offers Countries Guidelines for Assessing Cooling Needs

An international partnership has published guidelines to help countries measure their cooling needs, in line with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Nationally Determined Contributions required by the Paris climate agreement.

The guidelines are described in “‘Cooling for All’: Needs-based assessment/Country-scale Cooling Action Plan Methodology,” the result of a collaboration among the Heriot-Watt University, the Centre for Sustainable Cooling (CSC), and the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) group.

To fulfill the cooling needs of a nation or region sustainably, the government and community, “must understand the cooling demand and supply strategies available,” the report says.

The authors have developed a “draft framework” countries can use to quantify cooling needs to support “mitigation, adaptation and solution-delivery strategies.” The framework is designed to enable countries to understand and manage “both the societal cooling gaps today and the needs tomorrow in a fast-warming world.”

It can help countries develop their National Cooling Action Plans (NCAPs), addressing policy, technology, capacity building and finance measures.

The authors note that after the draft framework has been tested in country, they plan to convert it to an “online toolkit” that allows decision-makers to input data and design or simulate a range of solutions “based on a country’s needs, demands and objectives.” The authors invite comments from stakeholders.

The methodology is designed to cope with the global need for cooling as a necessary component in food preservation, human health, and commercial practices, given the projected five-fold increase in energy demand from cooling by 2050. The full publication can be downloaded here.

In 2019 the UN-Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, urged countries to develop their own NCAPs to address the human need for cooling while also reducing the impact of climate change.

However, the current NCAPs are “based on historical equipment trend analysis and projections,” says the report. “They are not need-oriented nor designed to address the need for cooling across all sectors.”

In place of this limited scope, the report proposes a methodology based around the demands of “Clean Cooling for All,” a holistic approach to refrigeration and air conditioning systems that incorporates the most efficient and environmentally friendly technologies while addressing the societal need for cooling equipment.

Needs assessment in four levels

The report outlines four levels of planning for cooling. Countries should assess bottom up needs for cooling and the subsequent energy requirements to meet them as the first level for creating a robust cooling action plan, says the report.

This would consist of accurate information about international treaty commitments, climate data, and the cooling mechanisms currently in place.

Having assembled an accurate data set, the second level consists of developing insights about future cooling needs in the supply chains, and also the “barriers and opportunities of intervention at the present condition,” according to the report.

The third level is where countries identify suitable “econometrics models” to estimate and predict cooling needs as well as energy requirements, associated emissions and economic impact,” the report says.

The fourth level consists of scenario-based assessment and recommendations.  Here, “country-specific Clean Cooling scenarios can be tested against the BAU [business as usual] scenario results for evaluation and policy development,” suggests the report.

The Needs Assessment and Cooling Action Plan Methodology thus provides “governments with the tools to understand—through the data—cooling in terms of societal cooling needed and the energy equivalent to meet that need under different scenarios compared to business as usual.”