Why it’s time to prioritise a Cooling Recovery Coalition

Morten Schmelzer, Head of Group Public Affairs and Technical Marketing Director, writes on the gaps in the UN’s Cool Coalition initiative and emphasises the urgent need to elevate energy recovery systems and indoor air quality as a central focus in the years ahead.


Morten Schmelzer
Morten Schmelzer

Established under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Cool Coalition was unveiled during the First Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. The coalition emerged in response to the industry’s recognition of the escalating demand for climate control and indoor cooling amid rising global temperatures, posing a threat of increased greenhouse gas emissions. Evolving into a global, multi-stakeholder network, the Cool Coalition operates on the premise that a unified approach to advancing energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling practices can drive meaningful change.

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Calling for Greater Inclusivity

While the Cool Coalition rightly emphasises the importance of enhancing the energy efficiency and sustainability of air conditioning systems, there must be a broader discourse on issues beyond seasonal efficiencies and refrigerants, for example.

More questions should be raised, such as:

-       How can we minimise the need for mechanical cooling from the outset, starting with building-level interventions like improved insulation?

-       How can we decrease cooling capacities through systems that prevent cold air from escaping outdoors without recovering cooling energy?

-       How can we ensure that occupants not only receive cooled air but also breathe fresh, healthy indoor air in the most energy-efficient manner?

Following this line of thought, we advocate for greater inclusivity, stressing the need for the United Nations and the HVACR industry to broaden the narrative by addressing the crucial aspects of energy and humidity recovery while ensuring people’s health by providing fresh, filtered indoor air.

Exploring Untapped Technologies

While the Coalition primarily focuses on cooling, often associated with air conditioning, numerous building technologies already exist today that provide and recover cooling while delivering fresh, well-filtered indoor air in a highly energy-efficient manner. These technologies are often being ignored in the current global cooling debate.

Combining energy recovery ventilation and intelligent controls with cooling technologies such as heat pumps can offer energy savings. We firmly believe that this technology merits more attention and holds immense potential. Fresh air ventilation units equipped with modern energy recovery systems, such as enthalpy heat exchangers, excel at cooling and moisture recovery, enabling them to maintain excellent indoor air quality while reducing energy consumption in ventilation and cooling systems.

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Prioritising a Cooling Recovery Coalition

To ensure a comprehensive response to the challenges posed by rising temperatures and escalating energy demands, we must advocate for greater inclusivity within the Cool Coalition. This means expanding the dialogue to encompass critical issues like heat pump systems and energy recovery ventilation, which supports better indoor air quality.

It’s time for the United Nations and the HVACR industry to embrace a holistic approach integrating demand-controlled ventilation, energy efficiency, sustainability, and public health.