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Sustainable Development of China's Air-Conditioning Industry


A couple of years ago, there were few energy-efficient air-conditioners in the Chinese market. On the one hand, this is because such high-end products had higher cost at that time; on the other, consumers had a limited understanding of energy-saving air-conditioners. From 2010 to 2015, China launched the Global Environmental Facility Program for Promoting Energy-Saving Room Air-conditioners (GEF Air-conditioner Program), with a view to advance the technological progress of the air-conditioning industry, making the industry more sustainable and raising consumers’ awareness of energy conservation. According to GoldenBee’s research, driven by the GEF Air-conditioner Program, recent years has seen tremendous achievement of China's air-conditioning industry t in its efforts towards sustainability.

Dramatic rise in energy conservation
The 25 Chinese air-conditioner and compressor manufacturers involved in the Program earnestly fulfilled their commitment and achieved remarkable effects in energy conservation, with the maximum energy efficiency of the invariable frequency compressor and inverter compressor respectively increasing by 24.1% and 51.4%, and with the maximum energy efficiency of the invariable frequency air-conditioner and inverter air-conditioner rising by 37.6% and 43%, respectively.

Whole industrial chain extension and cross-discipline collaboration
The shift towards energy-saving room air-conditioners has been extended from R&D and production to distribution, procurement, retail, consumption, recycling, and other links in both domestic and foreign industrial chains. In the meantime, the green campaign has been expanded to such stakeholders as local and foreign governments, relevant industries, research institutions, academic communities, users, and consumers, leading to the productive collaboration across diverse sectors.

Step-by-step technical training to guide the integration and progress of industrial technologies
The technical training program was conducted in an on-demand, well-organized and practical manner, in terms of the form and content of training, and invitation of experts. While maintaining the principle of "relaxing, guiding, and voluntary" as encouraged by the state, the training program sought to eliminate technical barriers among air-conditioning manufacturers, change scattered technical R&D, and guide technical integration among these market players, in an effort to promote technical advancements of the entire industry.

National standards on energy efficiency put into effect
Amends have been made to the national energy efficiency standards for room air-conditioners of China. The new standards have significantly increased the elimination rate of heavy consumption products, thus playing an instrumental role in raising energy performance of China's room air-conditioner market.
The GEF Air-conditioner Program is under the direction of a guiding panel consisting of members from China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and Standardization Administration, as well as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The Program is managed and led by the UNDP and the MEP of China, and implemented by the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO) under the MEP. In addition, 15 room air-condition manufacturers and 10 air-conditioning compressor producers participated in the Program.
At the end of the Program, many enterprises accomplished or even overfulfilled their goals. Gree, for instance, developed 71 new types of energy-saving room air-conditioners. Among these rollouts, invariable frequency air-conditioners registered a weighted average EER (energy efficiency ratio) of 3.51, rising 31.46% from 2.67, the benchmark in 2007; inverter air-conditioners registered a weighted average SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 4.49, up 49.67% from the benchmark of 3.0. A total of 33.25 billion kWh of energy was saved.
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