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Building cooling: an opportunity for green growth?

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GGGI Burkina Faso Country office

The construction sector consumes up to 40 % of energy and contributes up to 1/3 of the world's annual greenhouse gas emissions. The use of air conditioners and fans for thermal comfort accounts for around 20 % of the total electricity used in buildings in the world [1]. Among 35% of the world's population living in countries with a climate considered hot (where the average daily temperature is >25 °C), only 10 % have an air conditioning unit [2]. Improved living standards, population growth, and the occurrence of heatwaves (due to global warming) are expected to drive huge cooling demand over the next decade. The number of installed air conditioners could increase by 2/3 by 2030 worldwide. Indeed, according to the first part of the 6th report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), increases in extreme heat events are likely to continue throughout the 21st century with further global warming over the African continent [3].

Energy demand for space cooling impacts electricity generation and distribution capacity, particularly during peak demand periods and extreme heat events, as well as CO2 emissions. CO2 emissions from living space cooling are correlated with energy needs and are growing rapidly, more than one gigaton between 1990 and 2019. The figure shows the projections made by the International Energy Agency on energy consumption in buildings using a rapid energy transition scenario between 2017 and 2050 [1]. Measures related to the improvement of the building envelope, technological choices and equipment performance are the three most relevant mitigation, and adaptation levers to reduce the energy   demand   of   buildings   and   consequently limit carbon dioxide emissions.

Sub-regional initiative,

Buildings in urban, peri-urban and rural areas account for about 40% of total energy consumption in the member states of the West African Economic and Monetary Union. The challenges of energy consumption and climate change have led to the establishment of policies and regulations. In 2020, the WAEMU Commission adopted Directives N° 0004/2020/CM/UEMOA and N° 0005/2020/CM/UEMOA through the Regional Energy Saving Program (RESP), a key component of the Regional Initiative for Sustainable Energy (RIESE). Directive N° 0004/2020/CM/UEMOA relates to the energy labeling of electric lamps and new household appliances and Directive N° 0005/2020/CM/ UEMOA sets energy efficiency measures in the construction of buildings. These measures will have significant energy savings potential (20% or more) and are positioned at the heart of WAEMU's energy access and environmental preservation policies. Implementation is underway at the state level through the transposition phases into national legislation. Burkina Faso is at the transposition stage of the directives into national laws before an implementation phase.

Context of Burkina Faso,

The rate of urbanization, which was previously low, is increasing rapidly and the need for new buildings is high. In addition to this rapid urbanization, we can note the insufficiency of some local technologies to meet the socio-cultural needs, which has led to the adoption of building technologies without consideration of the energy and climate context. The cooling demand is constantly increasing and is linked to growing urbanization (32% in 2018, expected to reach 35% by 2026), the developing real estate sector (7.5% per year) [4], increasing incomes, severity of the climate and improving electricity coverage. Compared to the 2011-2015 period, imports of air conditioning equipment increased by 26.5% for the 2016-2020 period, according to data from the Burkina Faso Customs Department. The market is characterized by inefficient equipment’s and is mainly dominated by single-stage compressors non-ducted air conditioning units. Unlike other countries in the sub-region, the country does not have sufficient market regulation and control instruments to prevent imports of energy- using obsolete technologies such as refrigerants with high Global Warming Potential (GWP).

Urban spaces present two aspects when it comes to energy consumption. In some sections of society, incomes are quite high, and the energy consumption is high due to the use of energy-intensive equipment and unsuitable constructions. For the other parts, which constitute a large part of the population, consumption patterns are low. In the area of buildings, this is evidenced by high energy consumption in public buildings and in the residences of the privileged classes for cooling. The lower income classes face thermal discomfort because the buildings run without air-conditioning systems.

The Government and development partners have recognized the need to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change through the development of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the National Adaptation Plan. In the NDC, the need for energy efficient cooling is considered through the promotion of building envelope materials and energy-efficiency measures in both urban and rural housing.

It is in this context that the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in its missions to support Burkina Faso in accelerating the transition to green growth, in partnership with the Clean Cooling Collaborative, is active in the implementation of SHEECP ” Social Housing Energy Efficiency Cooling Project “. The overall objective is to reduce energy demand and improve energy efficiency in the housing sector. The main outcomes are the following:

Enhance regulatory environment supporting energy efficient cooling.

  • Enhance the implementation of the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for air conditioning and ventilation equipment;
  • Update national housing and urban planning policies, codes, and texts to consider energy efficiency.

Strengthen the capacity to implement energy efficient cooling solutions in the building sector.

  • Bring together the actors of the construction sector on the theme of energy-efficient cooling in a formal framework in the form of a community of practice;
  • Organize awareness sessions on improving the energy performance of buildings;
  • Develop training programs on building energy efficiency;
  • Integrate cooling solutions and bioclimatic approach in public housing programs in Burkina Faso.

Increase the demand for efficient cooling solutions in the residential sector.

  • Conduct nationwide awareness campaigns on passive housing cooling;
  • Increase the access to financial solutions for energy efficiency projects in building sector.

GGGI will work closely with the Government of Burkina Faso and local partners to reduce energy demand and improve energy efficiency in the housing sector. Through this three-year project, GGGI will help the government to reduce GHG emissions from the building sector by increasing access to residential cooling solutions.

As a reminder, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) is an Intergovernmental Organization and Burkina Faso has joined as a member state. The headquarter is based in Seoul, South Korea, and supports the Member States in accelerating their transition to green growth. The development of green cities, including the promotion of green buildings, is one of the four pillars of its interventions in its Member States.


[1] IEA (2019), The Critical Role of Buildings, IEA, Paris https://bit.ly/3DygHL1

[2] IEA (2020), Cooling, IEA, Paris https://bit.ly/3kEouhO

[3] IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change e [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J. B.R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press.

[4] Ministry of Urbanization and Housing/ National Housing and Urban Development Policy, Burkina Faso 2008.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of GGGI Burkina Faso Country office.

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GGGI Burkina Faso Country office
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