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Urbanization, rising temperatures, and more frequent heat waves in India are driving cooling demand higher. Further, as living standards rise and electricity reaches more homes across India, sales of room air conditioners (ACs) are growing. The room AC stock has skyrocketed from 2 million units in 2006 to approximately 30 million units in 2017. Air conditioners are now viewed as a necessity for a healthy lifestyle, similar to the perception of refrigerator ownership in the 1990s. But, ACs also burden electric grids with greater peak power demand, leading to higher power plant fuel consumption and increasingly poor air quality. Increased AC use also exacerbates harmful climate change caused by emissions of carbon dioxide from power generation and the release of refrigerants such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent heat trapping gases used in air conditioners. For the room AC market to grow sustainably, “climate-friendly” room ACs – those that are both energy efficient and use climate- safe refrigerant gases – are needed.

This factsheet provides an overview of the growing Indian AC market, strategies to advance climate- friendly ACs, and market opportunities under the Montreal Protocol.

This paper explores the business case for Indian AC companies to phase down HFCs and move to a future based on climate-friendly refrigerants and energy-efficient equipment designs.