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Magazine Feature: Efforts to cool buildings in Burkina Faso

Measures related to improving the building envelope, technological choices and equipment performance are the three most relevant mitigation and adaptation levers to reduce the energy demand of cooling buildings and consequently limit carbon dioxide emissions.

The article appeared in ESI Africa Issue 2-2021.
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In 2019, the International Energy Agency reported that air conditioners and fans account for around 20% of the total electricity used in buildings worldwide. As temperatures rise, by 2030, global numbers of installed air conditioners could increase by two-thirds.

The statistics in West Africa indicate urban, peri-urban, and rural buildings account for 40% of the region’s total energy consumption profile. Therefore, addressing the measures taken to cool buildings will reduce the resultant carbon emission impact.

In countries like Burkina Faso, taking heed of the challenges of energy consumption and climate change has led to establishing policies and regulations. In 2020, the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Commission adopted Directives N°0004/2020/CM/UEMOA and N°0005/2020/ CM/UEMOA through the Regional Energy Saving Programme (RESP), a vital component of the Regional Initiative for Sustainable Energy (RIESE).

Directive N°0004/2020/CM/UEMOA relates to the energy labelling of electric lamps and new household appliances, and Directive N°0005/2020/CM/UEMOA sets energy efficiency measures in the construction of buildings.

These measures will have significant energy savings potential (20% or more) and are at the heart of WAEMU’s energy access and environmental preservation policies. Implementation is underway at the state level through the transposition phases into national legislation. Burkina Faso is at the transposition stage of the directives into national laws before an implementation phase.

An urgent need for regulation and policy

In Burkina Faso, the rate of urbanisation, which was previously low, is increasing rapidly, and the need for new buildings is high. In addition, the lack of availability of such has led to the adoption of building technologies without consideration of the energy and climate context. The cooling demand is constantly increasing and linked to growing urbanisation (32% in 2018, expected to reach 35% by 2026), the developing real estate sector (7.5% per year, as stated by the Ministry of Urbanisation and Housing), increasing incomes, the severity of the climate and improving electricity coverage.

Compared to the 2011-2015 period, imports of air conditioning equipment increased by 26.5% for the 2016-2020 period, according to data from the Burkina Faso Customs Department. The market is characterised by energy-intensive equipment and is mainly dominated by single-stage compressors in non-ducted air conditioning units. Unlike other countries in the sub-region, at present, the country does not have sufficient market regulation and control instruments to prevent the importation of obsolete technologies such as refrigerants with high Global Warming Potential (GWP).

Urban spaces present two aspects when it comes to energy consumption. In high-income areas and public buildings, electricity demand is high due to energy-intensive equipment and unsuitable constructions. For the other parts, which constitute a large part of the population, consumption patterns are low; however, thermal discomfort is high because the buildings run without air conditioning systems.

Operative and roof temperature of a building in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Source: GGGI

The government and development partners have recognised the need to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of climate change through the development of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and the National Adaptation Plan. The NDC considers energy-efficient cooling by promoting building envelope materials and energy-efficiency measures in urban and rural housing. As such, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), in its missions to support Burkina Faso in accelerating the transition to green growth, in partnership with the Clean Cooling Collaborative, is active in implementing the Social Housing Energy Efficiency Cooling Project (SHEECP). The overall objective is to reduce energy demand and improve energy efficiency in the housing sector.

Primary outcomes of the Social Housing Energy Efficiency Cooling Project

An enhanced regulatory environment supporting energy-efficient cooling is achieved by:

  • Enhancing the implementation of the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for air conditioning and ventilation equipment.
  • Updating the national housing and urban planning policies, codes, and texts to consider energy efficiency.

Strengthen the country’s capacity to implement energy-efficient cooling solutions in the building sector achieved by:

  • Bringing together construction sector stakeholders on the theme of energy-efficient cooling in a formal framework in the form of a community of practice.
  • Organising awareness sessions on how to improve the energy performance of buildings.
  • The development of training programmes on building energy efficiency.
  • Integrating cooling solutions and bioclimatic approaches in public housing programmes.

Achieving an increased demand for efficient cooling solutions in the residential sector through:

  • Conducting nationwide awareness campaigns on passive housing cooling.
  • Increasing the access to financial solutions for energy-efficiency projects in the building sector.
Variation of the energy used in the buildings: rapid transition scenario 2017-2050 (AIE). Source: GGGI

The development of green cities, including the promotion of green buildings, will be achieved through these interventions. The GGGI will work closely with the Government of Burkina Faso and local partners to reduce energy demand and improve energy efficiency in the housing sector. Through this three-year project, GGGI will help the government reduce GHG emissions from the building sector by increasing access to residential cooling solutions. ESI

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ESI Africa
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