By Elias Hakizimana
The importers of alternatives to global warming gases and cooling equipment have said that the move to phase out the harmful gases to the environment and people’s health benefits both the dealers and users of cooling equipment.
Indeed, countries such as Rwanda are keen on gradually discontinuing or stopping the use of equipment such as air conditioners and fridges that are powered or emit harmful gases blamed for air pollution like Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Air pollution contributes to more than 6 million deaths every year, making it the single biggest environmental health risk of our time, according to the 2017 annual report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Basile Seburikoko, the in-charge of Heating Ventilation and Air conditioning at Akagera Business Group that imports fridges and air conditioners from SamSung, said that there is a business opportunity in discontinuing such gases and cooling equipment.
He said that the development has proven to help business community and general public to get, from manufacturing factories, fridges and air conditioners that meet required standards for the benefit of all.
“We are gradually phasing out the unsafe gases, while embracing environmental friendly gases. We have market opportunities because Rwanda has understood the importance of replacing the harmful fridges and gases with the ones that ensure green cooling and save over 30 per cent of energy,” he said.
David Gakuba, the Director of AKOLIFE Ltd that has been importing gases since 2016 observed that they are gaining good brand because of importing green gases by phasing out hazardous gases such as R-12, R-22, and R-507, R-410 among others.
“The best quality of some of these green gases is that they can last longer in the cooling equipment which benefits the users. [However], there is need for finding ways to make packaging of some of those gases such as R-290 affordable at the factory level so that they do not become expensive when they reach the Rwandan market. We are dealing with that issue with manufacturers,” he said.
The benefits of such eco-friendly alternatives is that they are not easily damaged by electrical faults, they consume less power, they have many years of guarantee since the have lifespan of 15 years while others last for less than ten years, he added
Experts have concurred that adopting the new environmentally friendly fridges and air conditioners with alternatives gases to global warming gases will bring both economic and environmental benefits to the users.
The phasing out of planet warming gases such as HFCs is part of implementation of Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol agreed by worldwide nations in 2016.
Martine Uwera, the Montreal Protocol focal person at Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) says that that embracing the new climate friendly cooling equipment and gases promotes energy efficiency and reduces gas that trap heat in the atmosphere.
“We have gases that have to be phased out such as R-22 used in fridges; but if we use green cooling fridge and climate friendly gas such as R-600 which is hydrocarbon, the fridge user will save at least 36 per cent of energy that could be spent and other types can save over 50 of energy that could be used,” she explained.
She said that although new green cooling fridge can cost a bit higher price in the beginning, it is cost-effective as the money would be recovered through its energy efficiency quality and lasts longer than types being phased out.
While explaining the adverse effects of planet warming gases such as Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that include R-407A, R-410A, and R-134A, Uwera said that one Kg of them emits between 1,000 and 100,000 carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming which induce diseases caused by air pollution, extreme weather events such as heavy flooding, drought and others.
“If we phase out HFCs gases, the world could reduce 80 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2047 and this amount could reduce 0.5 degree Celsius of global warming as part of contributing to Paris Agreement implementation with target to reduce global warming to below 2 degree Celsius,” Uwera explained.
So far, there about 30 importers of green cooling equipment and gases while more than 10 trainings of 100 refrigeration technicians on good refrigeration practices and safe use of flammable refrigerants have already been conducted, Uwera pointed out.
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