Washington, DC, April 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new assessment commissioned by the Clean Energy Ministerial's Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative finds that deploying super-efficient air conditioners could significantly reduce energy use by 2020 in selected countries, avoiding the need for more than 100 medium-sized (500-megawatt) power plants. Conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Navigant Consulting, the Cooling the Planet: Opportunities for Deployment of Super-efficient Room Air Conditioners study shows that these savings can be achieved using currently available technology.
Using the best technology that's already available can significantly improve energy efficiency--reducing energy use by 35% to 50% compared to the market average. Using technology that is also cost effective--meaning the electricity savings over the lifetime of the air conditioner (AC) unit would pay for any additional cost--can reduce energy use by 20% to 30%. Adopting AC technology that is both cost-effective and more energy-efficient could save more than 192 terawatt-hours per year (TWh/yr) by 2020--the same amount of energy produced by 64 medium-sized power plants.
The study is the basis for a new strategy being developed by the SEAD initiative to address the fast-growing electricity demand from room air conditioners in rapidly growing economies. In India, China, and Brazil alone, electricity demand to power room air conditioners is expected to equal the output of five Three Gorges Dams by 2020--more than 500 TWh/yr.
"Demand for electricity to power room air conditioners is rapidly rising," said SEAD initiative lead Gabrielle Dreyfus. "Using the information collected in this study, energy efficiency programs can design policies that raise the efficiency of air conditioners on the market and also save consumers money on their electricity bills."
The report estimates the total amount of energy that could be saved in each country and for all of the studied countries combined. The 11 economies studied include those currently dominating the sales of room air conditioners--China, India, Brazil, Japan, and the European Union.
The study's landmark findings could have a significant impact on energy efficiency strategies for countries such as India and China as they attempt to cope with the impacts of rapidly increasing electricity demand and the capacity required to meet that demand and address peak load issues.
"This study shows that the deployment of more efficient air conditioners can save about the same amount of electricity by 2020 as will be generated from renewable sources such as wind and solar," says Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory scientist Nihar Shah, the report's lead author. "So policies to promote more efficient air conditioning equipment should be pursued with a similar seriousness and concern."
Cooling the Planet: Opportunities for Deployment of Superefficient Room Air Conditioners can be downloaded at http://www.superefficient.org/Activities/Technical%20Analysis/SEAD%20Room%20Air%20Conditioners%20Report.aspx.
Through the collaborative efforts of its 16 participating governments, the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative under the Clean Energy Ministerial aims to accelerate global progress on the energy efficiency of equipment and appliances. Governments participating in SEAD include Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Commission.
CONTACT: Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat Email: CEMSecretariat@hq.doe.gov Phone: +1 202-586-4131
Source: Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat