The Practical Scope for Reducing Air Conditioning Energy Consumption in Europe: Policy Opportunities and Priorities

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This paper summarises the results of “Study to assess barriers and opportunities to improving energy efficiency in cooling appliances/systems”, which was carried out by the Building Research Establishment and funded by CLASP. The purpose of the study was to contribute to the development of relevant policy by identifying and quantifying the potential impact of possible measures to reduce the energy consumption of air conditioning in Europe over a ten-year period, relative to a business-as-usual scenario.

Many of the policy measures relate to the performance of products and equipment, but there is also considerable potential in the areas of load reduction and more effective operation and management of systems. The analysis focuses on quantified realisable savings that reflect technically-feasible measures whose rate of introduction is constrained by the replacement rate of air conditioning systems and appliances, refurbishment rates of buildings and different levels of ambition for performance regulations placed on air conditioning equipment and systems. It is disaggregated by country, but this paper concentrates on results for Europe as a whole.

The measures that offer the largest realisable savings formed the basis for recommendations for policy measures, often using existing policy instruments. These measures fall into two groups relating, on the one hand, to policies that impact directly on technical requirements for systems and products and, on the other hand, to those that do not. The second group includes policy measures to incentivize effective operation of buildings and systems, and to influence take-up rates for high-efficiency products. Additional recommendations relate to the application of policy: consistency of approach between instruments; choice of application at national or European level. The report also identifies areas where further work is needed to improve the robustness of studies similar to this one.

More detailed results and information about the study can be found at…


Roger Hitchin, Christine Pout and David Butler of the Building Research Establishment, UK


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