Building on decades of Moroccan leadership regarding the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, collaborators including Agence Marocaine de l’Efficacité Énergétique (AMEE), the Morocco National Ozone Unit, BMCE BANK OF AFRICA Group, AOB Business Consultant Group, and the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development (IGSD) will seek funding to immediately replace older room air conditioners (RACs) in government facilities that were inefficient when purchased, poorly installed and badly maintained for lifetime energy efficiency, and are expensive to operate with health impacts from fossil fuels burned for electricity generation.
Morocco has earned a global reputation for extraordinary leadership on ozone and climate protection. The Morocco National Ozone Unit is part of a global network of offices specifically created under the Montreal Protocol to share information, build capacity, and guide investment to phaseout ozone depleting substances (ODS) that cause skin cancer and cataracts, suppress the human immune system, damage agricultural and natural ecosystems, and deteriorate paints and plastics. In 2009, Morocco, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Mauritius were the first countries to advocate for the Montreal Protocol to control ozone-safe hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – which were once necessary to rapidly phaseout ODSs, but are still powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs) no longer needed due to technological advancements commercializing more environmentally-friendly alternatives. This pioneering Morocco Leadership was successful in 2016 when all 197 Parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to the Kigali Amendment to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs, and also agreed to simultaneously increase energy efficiency during the transition. Morocco chose to phasedown HFCs under the fastest schedule for developing countries, rather than the slower schedule permitted for developing countries with high ambient temperatures.
In response to the Kigali Amendment, AMEE partnered with BMCE BANK OF AFRICA Group, AOB, IGSD, and others in forming the Morocco Bankers Room Air Conditioner Buyers Club to stop the dumping of inefficient ACs with obsolete hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) 22 and HFC-410A and to aggregate demand for high-efficiency RACs with low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants. As part of this partnership, AMEE and IGSD signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a new metric for AC performance that considers the local circumstances of climate and urban heat islands and the time-of-day carbon intensity of electricity. The metric developed by AMEE, IGSD, and other partners was published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
Success in the new project replacing older RACs in government buildings will prove the economic merit of expanding AC replacements in Morocco and replicating the strategy throughout Africa. The model is likely appropriate for the replacement of older refrigeration and AC equipment in applications other than room RACs. Recovery from the COVID-19- induced recession can also be accelerated by this program through 1) jobs created in marketing, sales, distribution, installation, and service of the new RACs, 2) recovery and destruction in local cement kilns of ozone-depleting and greenhouse gas refrigerants, 3) the recycling of useful AC parts and materials, and 4) increased local commerce, as savings in energy realized by the new superefficient ACs purchased in bulk are spent locally. Shifting spending from foreign to local purchases improves balance of trade, strengthens domestic currency, and creates jobs and prosperity as funds circulate in the local economy. Added to that are the community benefits of mass replacement of RACs and their service to maintain energy efficiency over the life of the appliance.
This community impact grows over time as savings accumulate on avoided fuel and energy infrastructure and as the income from the new jobs circulates in the local economy.
Mohamed Rida Derder & Stephen O. Andersen
Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD)