REMA and UNEP’s U4E Launch Efficient Cooling Awareness Campaign

The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme’s United for Efficiency launches today a campaign to increase awareness on the benefits of embracing efficient cooling solutions.

This campaign focuses on encouraging the public to opt for refrigerators and air conditioners that save energy and money while at the same time protecting the environment.

The campaign is part of the Rwanda Cooling Initiative (RCOOL) which is implementing a National Cooling Strategy (NCS) on how to cost-effectively switch to sustainable cooling solutions that are consistent with the country’s sustainable development ambitions and its obligations to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

Juliet Kabera, Director-General of REMA emphasises the role of development partners and the private sector in the process of phasing out potent greenhouse gasses, Hydrofluorocarbons, as well as cooling solutions that consume excessive amounts of electricity.

RCOOL provides pathways that enable citizens to buy the latest cooling solutions with less impact on the planet. “Enhancing thermal comfort and refrigerated conditions for food and medicines are critical for the health, well-being, and economic development of the country,” Kabera says.

"Owning a refrigerator that helps you to keep groceries fresh and pay little for electricity as well as using air conditioners that are energy-saving is a two-fold benefit: you save money and protect the environment", She adds

Kabera also challenges people who may wish to buy brand-new cooling items to always check their energy consumption and whether they are free of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) gases.  “This is to make sure you also contribute to the protection of the environment.” She concludes.

The multi-month campaign targets users of air conditioners and refrigerators from different settings including homes, offices, grocery stores, bars, hotels, supermarkets among others that can realize significant benefits of more energy-saving and eco-friendly cooling.

Why is the Campaign Important?

Recent studies indicate that there are 87,512 refrigerators in Rwanda, of which an estimated 64,505 are classified as old, this wastes electricity worth approximately 4 billion Rwandan francs annually, which is an excess of 2.4billion.

In 2016, Rwanda successfully led almost 200 nations and states in a historic agreement that sought to avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century: The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Rwanda was the 39th Country to ratify the Amendment.

In order to implement the Kigali Amendment, Rwanda enacted the National Cooling Strategy (NCS) in 2019 with the objective of optimizing the growing needs for space conditioning and refrigeration (jointly referred to as “cooling”), in keeping with Rwanda’s green growth pathway.

The NCS helps roll out standards for cooling technologies. According to REMA, the country has currently reduced ozone-depleting substances by 54 per cent in an effort to fully implement the Montreal protocols by 2030. However, the journey is still long and more efforts are needed.

Rwanda has started restricting imports of air pollutant gases used by fridges and air conditioners in the country to encourage the adoption of non-polluting cooling technologies.