WS 4 – Future of Air Conditioning

The Future of Air Conditioning  (Program overview)

The goal of the workshop has been to get input and support for the initiative by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to start a new HPT Annex on the future of Air Conditioning.

This workshop focuses on the potential future role(s) of non-traditional technologies in building comfort cooling (and heating). The organizers trust this to accelerate international dialog on this subject and to identify and prioritize collaborative R&D efforts through the IEA/HPT and other appropriate IEA Technology Collaboration Programs (TCP) to facilitate development and ultimate adoption of cost-effective non-traditional technology solutions. The principal application focus is future building A/C systems but, as the workshop title implies, non-traditional technologies are also applicable to heat-pump based heating technologies as well.

As basis for the discussion the US report by the Department on Energy on ‘The Future of Air Conditioning’ is used.

The workshop short presentations included one on non-traditional (not-in-kind) air conditioning technologies, as well as summaries of the markets, technologies, and key trends in key air conditioning regions of China, U.S., EU, Korea, and Japan.

Introduction to the Workshop by:

  • Bill Goetzler Navigant Consulting, USA
  • Van D. Baxter Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA


  • Air Conditioning in Europe and in France and in Europe – Michele Mondot CETIAT, France
  • US AC and HP Market – Dutch Uselton Lennox Industries, USA
  • Air Conditioning industry in South Korea – Minsung Kim Chung-Ang University, South Korea
  • Air Conditioning in Japan – Choyu Watanabe Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc., Japan
  • Future of the air conditioning in China – Baolong Wang Tsinghua University, China
  • Overview of Non-Compression Heat Pump Technologies – Reinhard Radermacher University of Maryland, USA

All presentations can be downloaded as ZIP file.

Attendance varied from about 60-90 people, fairly equally distributed between North America, Europe and Asia.

Air conditioning is becoming increasingly critical in relation to energy and climate impacts due to growth in developing countries like China (where cooling energy consumption may eventually exceed heating energy) and especially in hot regions like India and Middle East. Impact will be huge.

Different pathways exist- natural refrigerants, low-GWP synthetic refrigerants or non-traditional technologies. International cooperation is very important especially for long term options like non-traditional technologies which are too long term for most manufacturers to explore. 
Some people felt that the most important focus should be natural refrigerants, while others thought that ultra-low GWP synthetic refrigerants were sufficient, and others believed that non-traditional (not-in-kind, or non vapor compression) technologies were the important long term opportunity. Diverse regions have different regulations, technologies, and market characteristics.
According to voting, ~90% of attendees feel that advanced air conditioning solutions are essential or very important to achieving global energy and climate goals and that air conditioning is an essential or very important topic in the context of other IEA initiatives. This is in line with the proposed new annex on advanced air conditioning technologies.

Additional information

During the Conference on the first day there was in to sessions a number of interesting presentations on the Development and application of Air Conditioning. The presentations can be downloaded.

At other Conferences Air Conditioning is often a topic.

The proceedings and presentations of the CLIMA 2016 – 12th REHVA World Congress held in Aalborg, Denmark on May 22-25, 2016 are available online. The event focussed on building and Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system performance in practice in relation to fulfilment of the intended design, ability to fulfil the needs of the occupants, interaction with the users in daily practice and role in the smart energy system. Many interesting papers were presented under Session 5.