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SEAD Releases Review of Incentive Programs to Address Escalating Cooling Demand and Use

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Clean Energy Ministerial’s Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative recently published a report on financial incentive programs that aim to mitigate the energy consumption attributable to the growing stock of air conditioners (ACs). Lessons Learned From Incentive Programs for Efficient Air Conditioners: A Review also describes how incentive programs can be designed to address other pressing concerns related to growing AC use, such as challenges to power supply reliability resulting from increased peak demand and the global warming potential (GWP) of AC refrigerants.

The increasing market penetration of ACs is one of the biggest drivers of growing global energy demand. Advanced technologies to increase efficiency help reduce—and thus meet—that demand, but financial incentives are needed to accelerate new technologies’ introduction into the market. Incentives must also drive utility and customer participation in demand response efforts that are increasingly important in the face of growing populations, emerging economic markets, and rising temperatures due to climate change. The latter is exacerbated by the use of high-GWP refrigerants in ACs.

For policy makers interested in addressing AC energy efficiency through incentive schemes, the report provides case studies of past and present programs and highlights challenges that need to be considered when making program design and implementation decisions. The report begins with an overview of AC markets, examines six AC incentive programs in depth, and outlines program design features that target the challenges presented by increasing cooling demand and use.

A PowerPoint summary with report highlights is also available on the SEAD website.

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