Environmental impact – energy and carbon emissons
Currently, 10% of greenhouse emissions and 16% of the UK's electricity consumption are estimated to be attributed to the use of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment according to the Carbon Trust.
A good example of such an area is the food industry where refrigeration energy use is high - the food industry is responsible for 12% of the UK’s industrial energy consumption and uses over 4500 GWh/yr of electrical energy. Considerable potential exists to reduce energy use within the food industry by improving the overall efficiency of refrigeration processes and to develop systems that fully utilise resources.
Another example is domestic heating - it is estimated that if 1% of boiler replacements converted to heat pumps which use refrigeration technology, displacing gas condensing boilers, this would be equivalent to 3.7 million tonnes of CO2 being saved in one year.
Reducing its environmental is an important challenge for the sector and its essential users. This issue is being addressed with many energy saving innovations and environmental initiatives such as:
- reducing the use of high global warming potential refrigerants and swapping to lower ones.
- initiatives to ensure refrigerants used are not leaked to the atmosphere where they will cause damage.
- ensuring the buildings are well insulated to reduce the need for mechanical refrigeration.
- reusing waste heat as part of district heating or cooling systems.