Climate Friendly Cooling in India

Credit: NRDC

Guest blog by Laasya Bhagavatula

During the first week of November, delegates gathered in Quito in Ecuador for the 30th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, one of the world’s most successful environmental treaties. And the news emerging from Quito is promising—the ozone layer’s recovery is on track! A new report by the UN Environment Program and the World Meteorological Organization reports this encouraging update, while emphasizing that continued action is needed to retain this progress.

In India, where less than 10% of the population has access to air-conditioning, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change recently released the draft India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP)—the first such national level policy document. The ICAP aims to address India’s growing cooling demand in a climate-friendly and energy efficient manner, while ensuring safety and comfort to all.

NRDC experts and partners are showcasing two reports at Quito that focus on cooling in India.

Improving Air Conditioners in India

NRDC, along with partners The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD), released an updated factsheet during the Quito meeting of the parties profiling both government and market progress on climate-friendly air conditioners in India. The factsheet also identifies strategies to further improve air conditioners in the Indian market, including opportunities under the Montreal Protocol. The factsheet is a part of our “Cooling India with Less Warming” series, which highlights the business case for switching to climate-friendly air conditioners.

Climate Impact from Hospital Cooling

Credit: KCEP

NRDC contributed to a study authored by the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program that focuses on the impact of cooling demand in hospitals. Adequate cooling in hospitals, especially in warmer countries, is a crucial need. Cooling not only maintains optimal thermal conditions within hospitals, but also ensures that vaccines, organs and blood are preserved.

The climate impact of hospital cooling is significant. Globally, about 365 Mt CO2e annually results from hospital cooling. This is equivalent to 75 million cars on the road, the study finds. China, the United States, and India account for 45% of total hospital cooling emissions. The study further emphasizes that reducing the energy used for hospital cooling and refrigeration by 30% could avoid over 110 Mt CO2e per year, equivalent to 27,400 wind turbines.

The study highlights the Sharda hospital in Ahmedabad, India where the installation of a cool roof helped to improve thermal conditions within the hospital.


The study recommends four actions:

  1. Continue to expand the availability and use of highly efficient and low global-warming potential coolant air conditioners, chillers, and refrigerators
  2. Improve hospital building design to incorporate passive cooling and ventilation and improved ventilation and cooling strategies
  3. Take a systems approach to reduce cooling load and capture waste cold, automating where possible and collecting better data that can inform further improvements
  4. Expand onsite and offsite use of renewable power 

As the world moves to the implementation of the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, these strategies can help India make strides towards more climate-friendly cooling and reduce super pollutants.

The 30th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol takes place November 5-9 in Quito, Ecuador.