Cooling

Towards a holistic view on cooling

By Ben Hartley, Energy Efficiency and Policy Specialist
Opinion

Ahead of the upcoming World Economic Forum, the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has highlighted the need for a super-efficient air conditioner to deliver cooling for all without warming the planet. The recently announced finalists for the Global Cooling Prize are helping us achieve this. This type of innovation is necessary to meet demand sustainably and prevent the worst impacts of climate change. We also need it in order to provide access to cooling to over 1 billion people that lack it today.

Their needs include space cooling for productivity and safety in a heatwave. But they also include the cold chains that keep food nutritious from farm to fork and vaccines effective from import to delivery in a rural health center.

Addressing this urgent development challenge requires us to comprehensively understand those needs and deliver solutions that address them. That’s why Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) developed the Cooling for All Needs Assessment – a tool to help governments, NGOs and communities do just that and better understand where cooling solutions are needed.

And these solutions don’t necessarily need to be mechanical. The use of shade or cool roofs in buildings, otherwise known as “passive cooling” are just two examples that use no energy and have no global warming impact. When we implement them in tandem with a super-efficient air conditioner, we increase comfort and the energy needed to achieve it. We also extend access to cooling to vulnerable populations that cannot afford mechanical cooling.

SEforALL is a proud partner to RMI’s Global Cooling Prize, and we congratulate the finalists.