India Cooling Action Plan

A First of its Kind

India Cooling Action Plan
India Cooling Action Plan

Cooling is a cross-sectoral necessity and a key factor in economic development. India is a developing economy characterized by rapid urbanization, rising per capita income, low penetration of air-conditioning and a tropical climate which leads to substantial rise in the demand for cooling. It is required in multiple sectors of the economy such as commercial and residential buildings, cold-chain and refrigeration, industries and transports. To address this rising demand for cooling across different sectors of the economy, the government of India launched the “India Cooling Action Plan” (ICAP) on 8th March, 2019. With this, India became the first country in the world to develop such a comprehensive Cooling Action plan which will help in reducing the cooling demand of the country. It was launched by then Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. While inaugurating this action plan Dr.Vardhan said, “The overarching goal of ICAP is to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for all while securing environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society. This will also help in reducing both direct and indirect emissions.” Further, the minister added that it will also contribute an integrated perception towards cooling across different sectors encompassing inter alia curtailment of demand for cooling, refrigerant transition, improving energy efficiency and superior technology alternatives with a twenty year time horizon. This plan is directly in sync with India’s resolution to the Montreal Protocol and the Paris Agreement (reduction of emission intensity) to encounter the obstacles of climate change.

Development of the India Cooling Action Plan

The ICAP has taken into account the interdependencies among policy interventions and endeavours to synchronize efficient use of energy with the HCFC phase-out and high-GWP HFC phase-down schedules. It emphasises on minimising obsolescence cost and economic dislocation and maximizing indigenous production for environmental and economic profits.

The path of the National Cooling Action Plan is envisioned as a multi-stakeholder attempt to bring together various important stakeholders like specialists on the cooling industry, alternative refrigerants (low- and zero-GWP), energy efficiency, research entities and neutral think-tanks, which are constantly working to foster the drive for efficient and sustainable space cooling. The second stakeholder category is the relevant ministries like the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the Department of Science and Technology. The third group of stakeholder is the refrigeration and air-conditioning industry partners. The collective participation of these stakeholders was crucial in developing this plan which is readily actionable and easily deployable across the country.

Why Cooling is Important?

The connectivity between Sustainable Development Goals and cooling such as well-being and good health, economic development and decent work, communities, climate actions and sustainable cities are well recognized. The cross-sectoral characteristics of cooling and its utilization in multiple sectors of economy makes provision for cooling an essential developmental necessity, which directly have bearing on the economy, the environment, and the standard of life of the people of the country.

One important sector in the economy is the building sector. Country’s growth is directly in proportion with the growth of this sector. This sector is all set to enhance with rapid urbanisation in the country – eventually the demand for refrigeration and air-conditioning will rise. Hence it is essential that proper strategies are implied to minimise the energy consumption and phase-out ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances).

Another important sector is the transport sector. As the country and its economy is developing, there has been a drastic growth in the automobile sector leading to an increased demand in transport air-conditioning. As the country will progress, this demand will also keep rising.

Preservation of perishable foods such as vegetables, fruits, fish, dairy products and meats creates another crucial area where cooling demand remains high. To prevent loss of food and increase farmers’ income, a reliable and uninterrupted cold-chain becomes a necessity. However, apart from reducing wastage of foods, the cold-chain considerably emits harmful greenhouse gases. To expand this cold-chain system, new modern pack-houses,ripening chambers and reefer vehicles are being added to complement the existing refrigerated warehouses. Additionally, cold-chain plays a vital role in preserving the effectiveness of vaccines during transit & storage. But, the biggest challenge faced by the industry is to move towards environment friendly and energy efficient technologies.

Cooling creates a huge employment opportunity in both rural and urban areas. To install and provide service of RAC (Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning) equipment, there remains a huge demand for skilled technicians in the market. Hence, as the demand for cooling will grow, demand for manufacturing, assembling and servicing facilities will also increase. Presently, in the RAC trade, there are approximately   2lakh service technicians in India, including both formal and informal sector, and this number will increase with the increase in penetration of the RAC equipment in the country. Keeping this need for technicians in mind, on 2nd August, 2018, theMinistry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF & CC) and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to train and certify 1lakh RAC service technicians under the flagship programme- Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) – Skill India Mission.

Broad Objectives of ICAP

  • Assessing the cooling demand across different sectors in next two decade and the corresponding demand for refrigerant and use of energy
  • Mapping of available technologies to cater the demand of cooling including refrigerant-based technologies, passive interventions and substitute or unorthodox technologies.
  • Providing suggestions for thermal comfort and sustainable cooling
  • Emphasising on training of RAC service technicians
  • Establishment of an R&D innovation ecosystem for developing alternative and unorthodox technologies indigenously.

ICAP Goals

ICAP aims to provide sustainable cooling and thermal comfort to all the citizens of the country as well as secure environmental and socio-economic interests for the society. The following are its goal –

  • Reduce the demand for cooling across sectors by 20%-25% by the end of 2037-38
  • Lessen the energy requirements for cooling by 20%-40% by the end of 2037-38
  • Reduce the demand for refrigerant by 25%-40% by 2037-38
  • identify “cooling and related areas” as a thrust area of research under national S&T Programme
  • Training and certification of 100,000 servicing sector technicians by year 2022-23, synergizing with Skill India Mission

Synergistic Actions for Acquiring Socio-economic & Environmental Benefits

  • With Government Policies and Programmes

Many policies and programmes have been implemented by the government of India in the ‘mission mode’ in urban development, energy efficiency and housing, transport, health, agriculture, skill development, R&D and entrepreneurship [ ex.- smart cities mission,National Mission on Sustainable Habitat,  housing for all, Doubling Farmers’ Income etc.]  While operations under these initiatives will proceed independently, it is essential that synergies be established to leverage greater societal and environmental benefits.

The government also aims to decarbonise the transport sector and move towards e-mobility and cleaner fuels. A lot of emphasis is been laid down to upgrade the public transport facilities including railways, RRTS and metros for intra-city movement.

To increase the efficiency of energy, many new policies are being framed and implemented by The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE). 100000 super-efficient air conditioners are being procured by India through Energy Efficiency Service Limited (EESL),as a demand aggregation policy that successfully drove down the price of high-efficiency equipment. EESL is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Power.

On 30th November, 2015Mission Innovation (MI) was launched to promote and strengthen R&D for accelerated and economical clean energy innovation. Heating and Cooling of buildings is one among other priority sections covered under Mission Innovation.

  • Synergies with International Commitments:

There is a direct link between cooling and Montreal Protocol (diminution of ozone-depleting substances).As suggested in Montreal Protocol, production and consumption of HCFCs are being phased-out in India. The decision of phasing out HFCs was taken in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Since, sustainable cooling has been intersection pointof 3international multilateral agreements – Paris Agreement under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2030; this might be the most favourable time for international policies and programmes to be synergised so that societal and environmental benefits can be secured.

How will it benefit the Society?

Following are the benefits that the society would accrue over environmental benefits:-

  • Everyone will receive thermal comfort – provision for cooling for LIG and EWS housing;
  • Sustainable cooling – low GHG emissions in respect of cooling;
  • Farmers income will be doubled with enhanced cold chain infrastructure, greater value of produce and less wastage of produce;
  • Skilled manpower for superior livelihoods and environmental protection;
  • Make in India – domestic manufacturing of air-conditioning and related cooling equipment’s
  • Robust R&D on alternative cooling technologies – to provide push to innovation in cooling sector.

Space Cooling – A critical segment

Space cooling is a crucial section of the entire cooling desideratum in India. Rise in demand for space cooling has been increasing over the years due to a synthesis of factors, likegrowing population living mostly in tropical regions, with rising aspirational requirements which is catalysed by sustainable economic growth over the last couple of decades.The Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) was developedby Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in 2007 after acknowledging the demand for space cooling to encourage minimum energy consumption in commercial buildings.The Standards and Labelling programme (S&L) was launched in 2006 by BEE to prescribe Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for room air conditioners & consumer appliances.

The Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) recommended the following measures for better efficiency of energy:-

  • Ensuring minimisation of cooling loads;
  • Use of high capability components and system design;
  • Ensuring optimised operation & controls;
  • Designing of features in such a waythat servicing and maintenance can be done.

Space Cooling Technologies:-

There are three broad categories of space cooling technology:-

  1. Refrigerant-based which includes Room ACs, Chiller System, VRF System & Packaged DX
  2. Non-refrigerant based which includes Fan and Air Cooler
  3. Not-in-kind which includes thermal energy storage, Personalised cooling/conditioning systems, Trigeneration or combined cooling, heating and power
  4. District cooling (DC)

Some other future technologies of cooling that are presently at developmental stage:-

  • Magneto-thermic cooling
  • Ejector jet cooling
  • Seasonal thermal storage
  • Automatic fault detection and diagnostics
  • Energy insurance of HVAC systems
  • Thermo-electric cooling
  • Self-healing/repairing systems
  • Appliances enabled for adaptive thermal comfort using IoT
  • Wearable cooling systems
  • Heat pipe-based DX systems

Socio-economic Co-benefits Proposed by ICAP

Thematic Areas Socio-economic Co-benefits
Space Cooling in Buildings §  Thermal comfort for all

§  Enhancement of Productivity

§  Reduced electricity consumption

§  Better health and well-being

§  Reduction in operational cost to the users

Cold-chain and Refrigeration §  Doubling Farmers Income

§  Reduction in wastage of food and better food security

Transport Air Conditioning §  Reduction in consumption of fuel

§  Energy efficient mobile air conditioning

§  Superior public transport network

Service Sector §  Secured working environment

§  More employment generations

§  Enhanced livelihood options

Research & Development §  Development of R&D Innovation ecosystem

§  Development of greater capacity/ opportunities for research and innovation in India

§  Cost effective indigenously developed low GWP alternative technologies


Recommendations Proposed by ICAP

Thematic Areas Recommendations Synergies with existing governmental schemes/programmes
Space Cooling in Buildings §  Approval and enforcement of ECBC for both commercial residential& commercial sectors

§  Ratchet up MEPS for Room ACs

§  Implementation of eco-labelling schemes for cooling appliances

§  Expansion of urban heat action initiatives

§  Institutionalize induction of thermal storage with cooling apparatus and distinctive power tariffs for reduction of peak power requirement


§ Smart Cities Mission

§ PradhanMantriAwasYojana – Housing for All

§ National Mission on Enhancing Energy Efficiency,

§ National Mission on Sustainable Habitats,

§ Government E-Marketplace

Cold Chain and Refrigeration §  Launching polices for retrofitting of existing cold storages to lower cooling, energy consumption&refrigerant demand

§  Framing of safety standards for toxic and flammable refrigerants for cold storage and other sections of the cold-chain

§  Effective replacement/ retrofit/ recycle strategies for inefficient old refrigerators

§  Inefficient old systems must be retrofitted with new efficient & right-sized cold chain equipment

§  Encouraging expansion of cold chain infrastructure through low-GWP refrigerant based energy efficient cooling systems


§ „ Doubling Farmers’ Income (DFI) initiative

§ Gramin Agricultural Markets (GrAMs)

Transport air conditioning §  Encourage use of low refrigerant charge energy efficient Mobile Air Conditioning System (MAC)

§  All cars should must possess Green Labelling System

§  Use of public transport instead of private cars- this will reduce refrigerant and energy demand as well as vehicular pollution.

§  Initiatives for publicity of compliance with CAFÉ norms through incentives

§  Enhancing energy efficiency and adopting low-GWP refrigerants especially in electric and hybrid vehicles.

§ Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) – Public Transportation,

§ National Mission on enhancing Energy Efficiency

§ Urban Transport Metro Rail Projects,

§ Faster Adoption

§ Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) norms

§ Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) Scheme

RAC Service Sector §  All technicians must be certified under a single framework

§  Promotion of online training courses on new and advanced technologies for technicians to develop their skills

§  Analysing the demand in industry and market and develop a database of trained service technicians at national level

§  More training institutes should be established and existing ones must upgrade their infrastructure

§  Introducing Social security schemes for RAC certified service technicians. These schemes must cover health and life insurance and will act as an incentive to workers.

§ PradhanMantriKaushalVikasYojana

§ National Skill Development Mission

§ Government E-Marketplace

Production Sector – Refrigerants and Equipment §  Importers and exporters of HFCs must have proper licence

§  Introduction of harmonized system codes for HFCs

§  Commercial Scale production of HFOs

§  Supervision and implementation of Regulations of Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) against disposable of cylinders

§  Imposition of proper safety standards against flammable refrigerants considering IEC60335-2-40

§  Ozone Depleting Substances(Regulation and Control)Rules 2000  should be amended to align with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and its enactments

§ Make in India
Research & Development §  Cooling to be certified as National Thrust Area and systematic R&D must be promoted

§  Establish a steering committee for Research & Development with officials from Ministry of HRDMinistry of S & T, BEE and specialist from educational and research organizations & industry

§  Bringing in mechanisms for protections of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) after consulting with relevant stakeholders

§  Promote and inspire applied researchesonadvanced energy efficient cooling technologies including electrical motors, heat exchangers,compressors, pumps and bench production of refrigerants.

§  Establishment of R&D consortium with help of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model having funding support  to assist and supervise the interdisciplinary R&D.

§ Start-up-India

§ Mission Innovation

 Implementation Framework

India’s high cooling demand can be administered sustainably by establishing synergies across various flagship schemes and initiatives of the Government and through developing the programmes and policy interventions wherever required, to get the maximum impact.

The India Cooling Action Plan serves to highlight the necessity of proactively and collaboratively tackling the projected cooling demand of India and frames sector-wide preferences and approach for interventions. Recognising the cross-sectoral need of cooling, the implementation of ICAP will deliver its best with active collaboration from the relevant ministries and private sector organizations. For its effective implementation, the ICAP needs to be supervised and administeredthrough a high level multi-ministerial framework.

Implementation Framework suggested for the implementing the ICAP:-

  • The highest decision-making power has been vested on the Empowered Steering Committee (ESC) chaired by Secretary, MoEFCC, for implementation of the ICAP;
  • The ESC shall be advised by the Steering Committee formed for development of ICAP to monitor its implementations;
  • The respective allied statutory bodies, Ministries, and State Governments will have the authority to implement ICAP.

The draft of India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) was released by the MoEFCC on the eve of the World Ozone Day in 2018. India became the first country in the world such a document (ICAP), which addresses the cooling demand across several thematic areas and recommends various strategies which can ease the cooling demand. This initiative will help in reducing GHG emission as well as aid global warming. Beside environmental point of view, it will also foster social and economic benefit to the country. It has been widely appreciated across the globe.


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