Electricity use for space cooling in buildings in ASEAN has grown rapidly over recent decades to around 80 TWh in 2020 – seven times the level in 1990 and close to the total annual electricity consumption of the Philippines. Recent data shows that air conditioners accounted for around 15% of residential energy use across ASEAN and fans represented around another 9%.

With continued economic development and population growth across the region, the IEA projects that air conditioner ownership across the ASEAN Member States (AMS) will continue to grow too. Air conditioner stock across ASEAN is projected to grow from nearly 50 million units in 2020 up to 300 million units in 2040. This could see electricity demand from space cooling in the region grow to 300 TWh in 2040 – approximately equivalent to the total electricity consumption of Indonesia and Singapore combined.

However, there is a possible future in which access to space cooling services can increase across the AMS but with lower impacts on energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Policy makers have a number of tools at their disposal to drive improvements in sustainable and energy-efficient space cooling for air conditioners and fans to help meet the growing cooling demand in the region while limiting the growth in energy demand and GHG emissions.

Policy action supporting the deployment of more efficient air conditioners, along with other energy efficiency measures such as the use of efficient fans and building envelope efficiency improvements could help the AMS save 110 TWh of electricity in 2040, cutting the projected space cooling energy use by over one-third. This represents more than the current electricity consumption of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and Viet Nam combined. These same actions would also reduce GHG emissions by over 55 million tonnes of CO2 in 2040, which, alongside decarbonisation of the electricity supply, could see CO2 emissions in 2040 from space cooling in ASEAN drop to lower than 2018 levels.

The Roadmap towards Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Space Cooling in ASEAN focuses on the policy tools available for AMS to drive energy efficiency improvements for space cooling. It sets ambitious milestones for space cooling technologies, including air conditioners and fans, that can help guide the ambitions outlined in this roadmap and subsequent action across ASEAN.

Policy can support an efficient future

This roadmap focuses on the policy tools available to the AMS to drive energy efficiency improvements for space cooling, with a focus on room air conditioners and fans. These policy tools can support an increase in space cooling access across the region decoupled from a linear increase in cooling energy demand and associated GHG emissions. This roadmap examines a wide range of sustainable and energy-efficient space cooling policies available to support these milestones under the three broad categories of regulation, information and incentives, and 12 types of policy measures across these categories.

We explore the current status of space cooling policies in the AMS and at the regional level, and provide actions and milestones for policy progress under each measure to achieve a range of energy and climate goals.

There is a wide range of policy measures available to the AMS, but the roadmap does not intend to recommend that any country implement a specific set of policies and programmes. Rather, it presents a wide range of policy options that governments can choose from to make an appropriate space cooling policy package tailored to their specific needs.

In order to achieve sustainable and efficient cooling, policies should aim to transform the market to make the sale of inefficient air conditioners and fans impossible across the ASEAN region. A policy package approach, drawing on a combination of regulations, information programmes and incentives can support the achievement of these milestones. Minimum energy performance standards (MEPS), labelling programmes and incentives form the foundation for progress on efficient, sustainable and affordable cooling options across the region. MEPS can help to remove the worst performing products from the market. Labelling programmes can help drive consumers towards more efficient products by providing them with better information about the efficiency of a cooling appliance they are considering buying and the potential reductions in their energy bills. Incentives can help pull more efficient products into the market, increasing their market share and driving down prices. While MEPS and labelling programmes can help to drive the improvement of new products sold, incentive programmes can also drive the early retirement of old and inefficient cooling appliances and their replacement with efficient and sustainable solutions.

This roadmap presents an approach based on the adoption of an ambitious regional product efficiency “ladder” for both air conditioners and fans. A product ladder can be used as an effective tool to bundle together the foundational policy measures in a cooling policy package, such as MEPS, labelling and other policy measures, such as High Energy Performance Standards (HEPS), to help meet short and long-term policy goals. This approach, as advocated by the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) Initiative and the COP26 Product Efficiency Call to Action, provides governments, manufacturers, retailers and the entire supply chain with a clear timeline for energy efficiency improvements relating to appliances. Providing long-term policy certainty supports businesses in making investment decisions which meet or exceed regulatory requirements to support efficient and sustainable space cooling goals for the region.

These policy measures can be supported by ongoing efforts pertaining to the harmonisation of testing methods, mutual recognition agreements and monitoring, verification and enforcement (MV&E). These efforts help to ensure that the standards set in regulations are met in practice and deliver the modelled energy and multiple benefits cost-effectively, streamlining administrative processes across the region while opening up new export opportunities.

This roadmap also explores a range of other policies that governments can draw on to support progress towards efficient and sustainable space cooling, including: information education and training programmes; air conditioner audit programmes; a selection of rebates, grants and tax incentives, loan programmes, on-bill finance and other financial instruments; manufacturing and innovation grants; and equity programmes (to support low-income households) to ensure access to affordable cooling for households which are most in need.

A Roadmap for Energy-Efficient Buildings and Construction in ASEAN has been developed in parallel to this roadmap. Viewing these two roadmaps side-by-side will help to ensure that space cooling is considered holistically along with the impacts of energy-efficient building fabric, passive design and urban planning on sustainable cooling.

A roadmap approach for sustainable cooling

This roadmap explores potential actions across three policy categories – regulation, information and incentives – and 12 types of policy measures.

An extensive list of potential policy instruments available to the AMS to support progress on sustainable and energy-efficient space cooling through room air conditioners and fans is considered in this roadmap.

However, a smaller set of measures form the foundation of a good policy package for space cooling, consisting of MEPS, harmonised test standards and labelling programmes. These programmes are also most effective when supported by a strong MV&E regime. A regional product efficiency “ladder” approach can help to unite these foundational policies.

As the AMS have different circumstances and priorities, each should choose to implement an appropriate mix of complementary policies beyond these foundational measures in order to build a successful policy package tailored to their local needs.

Roadmap towards Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Space Cooling in ASEAN Summary of Policy Measures

Roadmap Towards Sustainable And Energy Efficient Space Cooling In Asean Regulation
Roadmap towards Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Space Cooling in ASEAN Summary of Policy Measures
Roadmap Towards Sustainable And Energy Efficient Space Cooling In Asean Regulation