3 new grants to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions in refrigeration and air-conditioning sector

The grants will support companies switching to the more energy efficient refrigerant chillers, and smoothening the transition to using climate-friendly air-conditioning equipment. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Three new grants were launched on Thursday (Oct 8) to encourage companies to switch to water-cooled chillers using refrigerants with lower global warming potential, as part of efforts to reduce Singapore's greenhouse gas emissions.

The switch will reduce Singapore's greenhouse gas emissions from the use of hydrofluorocarbons in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector, said the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in a joint announcement on Thursday.

Global warming potential (GWP) is a measure of the warming effect of a gas relative to the warming effect of an equivalent mass of carbon dioxide, usually over a 100-year period.

Hydrofluorocarbons, when emitted into the environment, are much more potent compared to carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming.

The typical refrigerant used in chillers is known as R134a, which has a GWP of 1,300.

A low-GWP refrigerant chiller, which uses refrigerants with a GWP of 15 or less, results in lower energy costs, as it is more energy efficient, but has higher upfront costs compared to a high-GWP refrigerant chiller.

With the NEA's aims of restricting the supply of water-cooled chillers using high GWP from the fourth quarter of 2022, the three grants will support companies to switch to the low-GWP refrigerant chillers, and smoothen the transition to using climate-friendly air-conditioning equipment.

The BCA will administer one grant under a new scheme, known as the Grant for Low-GWP Refrigerant Chillers, which supports eligible owners or operators of existing building types.

The other two grants for industrial facilities and data centres will come under the existing Energy Efficiency Fund and Resource Efficiency Grant for Energy, administered by the NEA and EDB respectively.

The grants are part of a package of mitigation measures announced in Parliament on March 4 to reduce hydrofluorocarbon-related greenhouse gas emissions, which will be implemented in phases from this year to 2023.

The other initiatives include climate-friendly labels for household air-conditioners and refrigerators; training and certification of technicians to ensure refrigerants are properly handled so that the hydrofluorocarbons do not leak into the atmosphere; and mandate the recovery or destruction of spent refrigerants in decommissioned air-conditioning equipment.

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said in a statement on Thursday: "Climate change is an existential challenge for Singapore, which requires a whole-of-nation response, and efforts by all sectors to reduce emissions.

"I encourage companies to do their part by applying for these grants and make an early switch to equipment with lower GWP refrigerants. This will go a long way in reducing the environmental impact arising from the use of hydrofluorocarbons and help to fight climate change."

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