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Cooling the Planet: Opportunities for Deployment of Super-Efficient Air Conditioners

In April 2013, the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) Initiative finalized an analysis that identifies potential room air conditioner (AC) energy efficiency improvements and their incremental costs, as well as global and country –specific estimates of total energy savings potential.

SEAD Room AC Report CoverThe analysis shows that even the best currently available technology offers large efficiency improvement opportunities, with a 35% to 50% reduction in energy consumption from the market average, in most SEAD countries. The study also provides insights for policies and programs that can be used to accelerate the adoption of efficient technologies to further capture global energy savings potential.

The study concludes that:

  • There is significant potential for improved energy efficiency  – there is a large gap in efficiency terms between the best available split package AC in each economy and the average AC in that same economy;
  • There are various efficiency improvement options available, including ‘classic options’ such as increasing heat exchanger size / efficiency, variable speed and efficient compressors, efficient fans, and thermostatic and electronic expansion devices;
  • Low global warming potential (GWP) / Ozone depletion potential (ODP) refrigerants can have a cost and efficiency impact;
  • Among the economies studied, China, India, Brazil, Japan and the EU constitute a large share of the room AC market, with expected total 2014 sales of about 90% of the total market;
  • Efficiency improvement to European Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios between 4.2 – 7.44 W/W is cost-effective, leading to savings potential of over 63 Rosenfelds.

This report was a collaboration between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and Navigant Consulting, in support of the SEAD Initiative.

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For more information, please visit superefficient.org.