About half of all European energy consumption is generated by heating and cooling systems in buildings and the industrial sector. While in the last few years, energy demand for heating has decreased - thanks to thermal insulation and the use of more efficient technologies - the demand for cooling is clearly increasing. Air conditioning systems are becoming more utilised within the residential sector, due in part to today’s increase in average temperatures. In order to confront this new challenge, the European Union has included the promotion of renewable cooling systems in the new European directive on renewable energy (RED II).
Today, cooling systems based on renewable sources are not largely widespread, however this technology has a wide-ranging potential for development. Polluting emissions could be significantly reduced by producing air conditioning systems for buildings and industries equipped with refrigeration systems or which require process cooling.
Which cooling systems can be defined as renewable? How can we calculate their contribution to the overall share of renewable energy produced by each country? The answer to these questions is far from trivial and could contribute to the diffusion of this technology on a large scale. The European Commission has recently included the promotion of renewable cooling in the new renewable energy directive - RED II - and has now entrusted a pool of international experts with the task of expounding a precise definition of renewable cooling as well as an effective methodology for including it in energy statistics. Eurac Research is part of this research group led by the Vienna University of Technology
Sustainable cooling systems are based on very different technologies: an example is thermally activated heat pumps from solar systems. Eurac Research´s renewable energy experts, together with the Vienna University of Technology (AUSTRIA), ARMINES (France), V&M (Denmark), and e-think (AUSTRIA) will spend the next years addressing the classification of all the technologies on the market and on calculation methods to quantify the portion of renewable cooling in total energy production.
The results of this work will be discussed with the institutions that manage various country´s energy policies alongside other research centres, industrial associations and sectoral organisations in order to promote shared processes.
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