Networked cooling systems, paired with energy storage technology and renewable power are seen as vital steps to becoming a more sustainable sector
A combined focus on district cooling solutions and embracing low carbon energy and storage solutions are identified by the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) as a vital component for improved sustainability across the industry.
A white paper published by the HVACR association, entitled ‘Count on Cooling: A five-step approach to deliver sustainable cooling’ sets out five priorities to ensure a Europe-wide transformation of HVACR. These recommendations include ensuring more technical focuses on improving operational and energy efficiency, while also mitigating the impact of refrigerant use on global temperatures and helping alleviate the investment costs required to move to new systems.
The strategy document has been released to coincide with the 31st UN Meeting of the Parties (MoP) being held this week in Rome to look at progress and targets under the Montreal Protocol to limit climate-warming gas.
Another priority outlined in the white paper is ensuring an industry shift to renewable energy sources that can be integrated with cooling and heating solutions introduced at either a building or city-wide level.
These district systems, introduced either in individual buildings or a cluster of structures, could help enable much higher efficiencies bolstered by energy storage functions, the white paper said.
EPEE added, “This can be a great opportunity to increase efficiency and flexibility while reducing investment in large central heating and cooling plants.”
On-site energy storage that could make use of waste cold or heat in the form of thermal energy batteries was also highlighted as an important method to balance energy demand in a more affordable and sustainable way. This would tie into making use of rejected heat, recovered from cooling systems, the document added.
Other examples identified in the report of more integrated approaches to cooling systems included making use of heat pumps or photovoltaics to try and limit demand on electricity infrastructure and ensuring cooling functions are not interrupted.
EPEE said that it also has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to maintain cooperation around the themes of sustainable cooling and energy usage across the HVACR sector.
EPPE Director General Andrea Voigt said the MoU formally recognised an ongoing collaboration between cooling experts and the UN on key environmental issues.
She said, “Joint projects include raising awareness and providing pragmatic solutions such as modelling programs and analytical tools to assist developing countries in reaching the objectives of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol while improving energy efficiency. In a nutshell: the industry experience in the EU can be shared in a useful way to help mitigate the climate impact of the sector and contribute to protect the environment.”