World Bank Launches Energy Efficient Cooling Program for Developing Countries

By 2050, it is estimated that demand for cooling in countries like India, China, Brazil, and Indonesia will grow fivefold


The World Bank has established a new Efficient, Clean Cooling Program to accelerate the uptake of sustainable cooling solutions, including air conditioning, refrigeration and cold chain in developing countries. The program will provide technical assistance to ensure that efficient cooling is included in new World Bank Group investment projects and mobilize further financing.

Led by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and Climate Change Group, the new program has been established by a $3 million grant to ESMAP from the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP), a philanthropic program established to help countries increase the energy efficiency of cooling.

The program will help countries develop the necessary market infrastructure, financing mechanisms, policies and regulations to deploy sustainable cooling at scale, focusing on air conditioning, refrigeration, and cold chain, cool surfaces such as reflective roofs, walls and pavements, and mitigation of urban heat island effects. Another area of focus will be working with public and private sector partners to raise awareness around efficient, clean cooling opportunities in emerging markets.

According to release by the World Bank, today, more than 1 billion people lack access to sustainable cooling solutions with the potential to impact health, food security, productivity, and growth. The lack of cold storage and refrigerated transport contributes to 1.5 million vaccine-preventable deaths and the waste of about a third of the total food produced annually. By 2050, work hours lost due to excessive heat could result in 6 percent of lost GDP annually in the worst affected regions of South Asia and West Africa.

Globally, demand for cooling is increasing, largely driven by growing populations, urbanization and rising income levels in developing countries. Further exacerbating the issue, rising temperatures will increase demand for cooling appliances, which not only use large amounts of energy but also leak refrigerants that contribute to global warming.

By 2050, energy use for cooling is projected to triple. Also, by 2050, estimates show that demand for cooling in countries in the tropics and subtropics such as India, China, Brazil, and Indonesia will grow fivefold, which will put pressure on already strained energy systems and hamper efforts to curb climate change.

“Sustainable cooling is a fundamental part of the energy transition. Meeting the growing demand for cooling services without compromising climate change goals will require substantial investments in energy efficient cooling solutions that are affordable and accessible to developing countries. This is exactly what the new program is set to do, and as such, it will underpin the World Bank’s longer-term strategy on sustainable cooling,” said Rohit Khanna, Manager of the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program at the World Bank.

“Efficient, clean cooling can contribute significantly to a stable climate and cut energy costs at the same time. However, financing is needed to cover the capital costs of cooling technology, especially in developing countries. That is why K-CEP is excited to partner with the World Bank to mobilize the investments required to make cooling for all a reality,” said Dan Hamza-Goodacre, K-CEP Executive Director.

Through the program, the World Bank will mobilize its expertise across sectors such as transport, energy, agriculture and urban, as well as with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to lay the groundwork for a pipeline of new projects that could be supported by the World Bank Group or other sources of financing. These efforts will be complemented by the development of a series of technical studies and knowledge exchanges.

Besides energy efficient cooling technologies, developing energy efficient buildings and surroundings have also gathered speed in the country.

Recently, India announced the launch of ‘Energy Efficiency Label for Residential Sector’ program in India. The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has developed this label for residential buildings to provide information to consumers about the energy efficiency program standard of the homes to be built across India. The objective of the labeling program is to make an energy performance of a home an instrument of comparison while deciding over the home prices in the future. It also aims to provide a benchmark to compare one house over the other on the energy efficiency standards to create a consumer-driven market transformation solution for energy efficiency in the housing sector.

Recently, BEE and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) kickstarting their cooperation to promote energy efficiency in buildings. The MoU will remain in force for five years unless rescinded by either party.

According to the MoU, BEE and CPWD will cooperate on promoting designs and construction of Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) compliant new buildings, star rating of CPWD managed buildings across the country with no registration or renewal fee, awareness on energy efficiency in building sector and support for capacity building of CPWD officials in ECBC.

Last year, the government launched ECO Niwas Samhita 2018, which is the ECBC for residential buildings, to push for energy efficiency in the residential sector. The code aims for promoting design and construction of homes including apartments and townships to give the benefits of energy efficiency to the occupants.

Last year, the World Bank had announced that it had decided to provide $220 million in loans and an $80 million guarantee to India’s Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).

The funds were to be utilized for EESL’s India Energy Efficiency Scale-Up Program which is aimed at increasing energy savings in residential and public sectors, strengthening EESL’s institutional capacity and enhancing its access to commercial financing.