Latest progress in the Caribbean Cooling Initiative

Jamaica and the Dominican Republic are working towards setting up policies and minimum energy efficiency requirements to reduce energy consumption and GHG emissions from cooling. 

Due to their warm climate, tropical coastal regions have high energy demands for building air conditioning, often exceeding 50% of the total energy budget, according to various studies. For example, in Puerto Rico, the net energy consumption in the residential sector was approximately 35% of the total energy produced in 2005. According to a 2016 report, the air conditioning energy demand was 48.2% of the total electrical energy consumed in hotels in Barbados. [1]  


The Caribbean Cooling Initiative (C-COOL) was launched in 2018 to assist Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Barbados, the Bahamas and Saint Lucia in making the transition to energy-efficient and climate-friendly air conditioners and refrigerators. Along with regional stakeholders, partners of the project included the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United for Efficiency (U4E) network, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program (K-CEP) and the Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE). [2] 


Jamaica’s National Cooling Strategy [3 – 6] 


As part of C-COOL, the Jamaican Government started developing Jamaica’s National Cooling Strategy (JNCS) with UNEP’s U4E team in 2018.  Over the past three years, the development process has involved many national stakeholders. The strategy document is currently in the final stages of development. 


The JNCS reflects the country’s objectives for effective legislation and mechanisms for market monitoring, in order to drive compliance of the entire cooling market chain with the country’s climate change, ozone depletion and energy efficiency objectives. 


The JNCS recommendations include setting a standard for refrigerant testing, aligned with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Jamaica is also working on establishing new energy efficiency standards for cooling equipment, in conjunction with CROSQ, (the regional organisation for standards and quality in the Caribbean). According to the country’s mandatory “Energy Efficiency Testing and Labelling Programme”, manufacturers, importers, retailers and distributors of household refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners and wine chillers are required to label appliances with information about their energy efficiency and cost of operation. [4] Energy efficiency labels must be issued by the Energy Efficiency Laboratory at the “Bureau of Standards Jamaica” (BSJ), since Jamaica’s climate and power supply differ from overseas testing facilities. [5] 


Based on an assessment by U4E, implementation of the JNCS could result in an annual reduction in electricity use of 340 GWh by 2030, equivalent to 11.5% of current national electricity use and worth $160 million USD. It could also reduce CO2 emissions by over 360 thousand tonnes. According to Jamaica’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) that was submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in July 2020, the country aims to reduce its GHG emissions from the energy sector by 25.4% to 28.5% by 2030. [6] 


The Dominican Republic’s National Cooling Strategy (ENRAA-RD) [7] 


The government of the Dominican Republic has defined ambitious actions on refrigeration and air conditioning in the country’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). The “NDC-RD 2020” was submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2020. 


The initiatives in the updated NDC target a 27% reduction in the country’s GHG emissions by 2030 (2% more than the original NDC submitted in 2015). To help achieve this target, a National Cooling Strategy (ENRAA-RD) has been developed under the leadership of several national stakeholders, with support from UNEP’s U4E initiative as part of the C-COOL. 


These measures include introducing minimum energy efficiency performance standards and labelling for room air conditioners and domestic refrigerators, along with developing replacement programs for obsolete products in the residential and commercial sectors. In order to prevent low-efficiency products from entering and dominating the market, the measures also include the implementation of best practice in market control, monitoring and data collection.  


Altogether, these actions could potentially reduce emissions by at least 4.3 million tonnes of CO2eq. 




[1] Angeles, M.E., González, J.E. & Ramírez, N. Impacts of climate change on building energy demands in the intra-Americas region. Theor Appl Climatol 133, 59–72 (2018). 




[5] Bureau of Standards Jamaica. Energy Efficiency Programme.