Playing it cool! Major companies take on climate-friendly cooling challenge

13 September 2019
  • Big business set to slash CO2 emissions as international non-profit The Climate Group launches energy efficiency cooling challenge;
  • Indian manufacturers and a Middle Eastern retail giant among the first companies to sign up and increase competitiveness;
  • UN Environment Programme underlines business opportunity to benefit the environment and wider society.

Major businesses around the world are being challenged to cool their operations in the most energy efficient ways possible, through a new initiative launched today by international non-profit The Climate Group in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy.

Coming just ahead of Climate Week NYC 2019 (September 23 – 29), today’s launch will see companies working to lower their CO2 emissions while boosting their bottom line and improving overall competitiveness.

Big names in manufacturing, hospitality and retail from India and the Middle East are among the first to sign up, reflecting increasing demand for cooling in emerging economies especially as the impacts of climate change take hold.

They include auto and farm equipment manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra and Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India, as well as Godrej Industries Limited. (GIL) (chemicals manufacturing), Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) (home care, personal care, hair care), Godrej Agrovet (farming and food), and Dubai-based retailer Majid Al Futtaim, which owns and operates shopping malls and leisure establishments.

They are joined by global buildings technology and solutions company Johnson Controls, keen to lead by example on efficient cooling across its own operations.

All of the signatories are already committed to smarter energy use as part of EP100, a global initiative led by The Climate Group in partnership with the Alliance to Save Energy. By taking up the EP100 Cooling Challenge, which is supported by K-CEP, the companies aim to progress more quickly toward their energy productivity goals and benefit from greater economic output per unit of energy consumed.

Helen Clarkson, Chief Executive Officer, The Climate Group, said,

“This is about preparing your business for the future. With electricity demand from air conditioners alone set to more than triple by 2050, companies have an immediate opportunity to invest in energy efficient cooling that will lessen further climate impact and generate substantial financial savings. I congratulate those first to sign up to the EP100 Cooling Challenge – we look forward to seeing their plans come to life.”

Mark Radka, Chief, Energy & Climate, UN Environment Programme, said,

“Providing efficient, climate-friendly cooling offers a unique opportunity for businesses to advance Corporate Social Responsibility goals by improving the well-being of people in developing and emerging economies, and the planet.”

The Climate Group will explore how leading companies are finding innovative solutions on cooling at Heating & Cooling – The Next Frontier, an event for Climate Week NYC.

Playing it cool! Major companies take on climate-friendly cooling challenge

Mahindra & Mahindra

Mahindra & Mahindra is conducting trials of the latest cooling technologies with a view to replacing old equipment. The majority of the company’s energy use is from cooling in office blocks. Its new plant in Chakan, India, is fitted with the latest available in cooling technology.

Anirban Ghosh, Chief Sustainability Officer, Mahindra Group, said:

“Cooling is a big user of energy in Indian corporations, especially in office blocks. Technology is now available so that cooling can be carried out more effectively than in the past and in a greener way. Cost savings while contributing to lower emissions is an ideal approach – that’s why we’re proud to be one of the first companies to sign up to the EP100 Cooling Challenge.”

He added,

“Post instalment of the energy efficient cooling systems we expect to save 30% on the annual running costs – so it will pay itself back in a few years.”

Majid Al Futtaim

Cooling accounts for around 40% of utility bills at Majid Al Futtaim. As the company works to maintain a comfortable temperature in its shopping malls and entertainment venues in the Middle East and North Africa, it makes business sense to maximise the efficiency of its cooling.

Measures already being taken by Majid Al Futtaim include improving controls to better sequence chillers and operate pumps and cooling towers, matching cooling schedules with operation schedules, and recovering condensate in shopping malls to feed into cooling towers. The company is also digitalizing its energy use to monitor the efficiency of its cooling systems.

Ibrahim Al Zu’bi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Majid Al Futtaim, said,

“At Majid Al Futtaim, our commitment to become net positive in carbon and water by 2040 is the core of our environmental sustainability agenda. Due to the hot and humid climate in the markets where we operate across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, air conditioners and cooling systems make up the most of our power consumption. To reach our net positive goal, we are investing heavily in optimizing the efficiency of our cooling systems through innovations, behavioral change and constantly measuring our impact to ensure minimal greenhouse gas emissions.

Godrej Industries Limited and Associate Companies (GILAC)

Three of GILAC’s four companies are signing up to the EP100 Cooling Challenge – Godrej Industries, Godrej Consumer Products and Godrej Agrovet. The companies have more than 90 manufacturing plants and offices in India and overseas, many of which are large and use significant amounts of energy for refrigeration and air conditioning.

Having already introduced measures to improve the energy efficiency of their cooling systems, including replacing chillers and monitoring direct and indirect emissions, the companies will now look to improve cold-chain logistics, storage, and air conditioning in commercial spaces. They also plan to invest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies.

Nadir Godrej, Managing Director Godrej Industries and Chairman and Non-Executive Director of Godrej Agrovet Limited (GAVL), said,

“Our office buildings and food and dairy operations consume a significant amount of energy for cooling, and the efficiency of our cooling systems directly impacts on the quality of our products. By taking on this Challenge, we want to reaffirm our commitment toward climate change mitigation and bring a greater and more immediate focus on increasing efficiencies across our refrigeration and air conditioning usage.”

He added,

“Energy efficiency generally gives us excellent returns – even a small reduction in energy use translates to financial benefits and savings of CO2. We love the idea of collaborating to improve the planet and save money simultaneously – we believe in optimization rather than sacrifice.

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