Sustainable cooling in Germany: Status quo and future perspectives of sustainable cooling strategies

Cover TAB-Kurzstudie Nr. 4: Sustainable Cooling
TAB-Kurzstudie Nr. 4: Sustainable Cooling – nachhaltige Kühlstrategien

Temperatures in Germany have been rising steadily since about 1970. Since climate records began in 1881, the average air temperature in the country has risen by 1.6°C by 2021. In Germany, as in the rest of the world, the people most affected by heat are older (single) people, the chronically ill, people with disabilities, pregnant women and young children - a group of around 9 million people.

The growing demand for cooling and air conditioning must be met in a sustainable way in order to break a spiral of negative interactions. Rising temperatures increase the need for cooling and air conditioning. If these systems are inefficient, use climate-damaging refrigerants or are powered by fossil fuels, they contribute to climate change. In this context, the focus on sustainable cooling solutions is particularly important.

Sustainable cooling aims to provide adequate thermal comfort for people in their environment and therefore refers to both approaches that prevent the need for cooling in the first place and processes where the reduction of cooling demand, air conditioning and (deep) cooling have no or low environmental impact and are at the same time financially affordable and equally accessible to different social strata.

The realisation of sustainable cooling solutions depends on economic, regulatory and innovation policy frameworks. With regard to the economic framework, sustainable cooling solutions offer economic potential, but this is difficult to realise due to a lack of demand and a shortage of skilled labour. At the regulatory level, the main issues regulated are the use of climate-damaging refrigerants and the use of energy-efficient equipment. Finally, the design of the innovation policy framework can help to prevent the shortage of skilled workers and promote the implementation of urban development measures.

The TAB short study  (only in German) provides an overview of approaches to avoid cooling demand, particularly in the field of urban planning and architecture. In addition, technological and non-technological innovations are presented that focus on the development of efficient and low-emission cooling technologies and concepts as well as on making these technologies accessible to broad sections of the population. Finally, it discusses the key policy areas in which the implementation of sustainable cooling solutions can or must be advanced.

The main findings are presented on the project page.


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