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Clean Energy Ministerial 5 (CEM5)

12–13 May 2014, Seoul, Korea

Energy-Efficient Cooling and Demand Response


Keeping our homes and workplaces cool is more than a luxury, it is important for increasing worker productivity, lifting living standards, and reducing the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths. Global demand for cooling is growing rapidly as incomes rise, air conditioning units become more affordable, and the global climate heats up. The growth trend in emerging economies is particularly striking. In India and China, air-conditioning sales are climbing by about 20 percent per year. Within the next two decades, electricity demand for cooling could increase 25-fold in India and large increases are expected in other emerging economies as well.

By contributing to peak electricity loads, growing cooling demand threatens to stress networks and increase the occurrence of brownouts and blackouts. It also produces greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. In the absence of ambitious action, we may very well experience a cooling-energy crisis. This roundtable will focus on reducing cooling demand – especially peak cooling demand – through energy efficiency improvements in cooling technologies1 and demand response measures.2 These approaches can also deliver financial benefits via energy savings to households, businesses, and institutions. Participants in this session will discuss the key barriers to advancing these solutions and approaches to overcoming them.

View the pre-read presentation.

Discussion Topics

  • Which technologies, practices, and policies hold the greatest promise for delivering near-term energy efficiency gains in the provision of cooling in buildings?
  • How can CEM countries most effectively accelerate the deployment of energy efficient cooling technologies, including air conditioners and building envelope components?
  • What is the potential of city-scale approaches, such as district cooling, to serve densely populated areas? What are the existing barriers to adoption and how might they be overcome?
  • What role could demand response, including household billing schemes, play in reducing peak and overall cooling demand?
  • What is the experience of CEM countries with the deployment of energy management systems to curb cooling demand, including automated building controls?
  • What unique challenges and opportunities for energy efficient cooling and demand response arise in emerging economy contexts?
  • What are priority areas for public-private coordination?

1 Air conditioners, building envelope components, and district cooling. 

2 Electricity pricing schemes, appliance and equipment control systems, and other related policy instruments (e.g., rebates and consumer education).