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Refrigerants, Naturally! for LIFE: HEAT just started a new EU-funded project


07/01/2019 | Refrigerants, Naturally! for LIFE: HEAT just started a new EU-funded project

Refrigerants, Naturally! for LIFE: removing barriers to climate friendly cooling in Europe's small retail market

Königstein, 17 July 2019. A new project called "Refrigerants, Naturally! for LIFE" supporting the uptake of climate-friendly cooling alternatives among end-users of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) equipment and servicing providers, has started in June 2019. The project is funded under the EU-LIFE programme.

The project particularly addresses end-users in the organic food retail sector. Many of these are individual retailers independent from larger supermarket chains, but they do have a strong potential to grow in urban settings. The second key target group is the servicing sector, providing store owners with the needed RACHP equipment, as well as commissioning, servicing and repair. While many supermarket chains in Europe have started installing climate-friendly cooling over the last years to meet future regulatory requirements, this challenge has not been in the focus of the majority of smaller stores yet.

The project therefore prioritises the building of capacities and raising of awareness among small store owners and the RACHP servicing sector by providing information and training needed to accelerate the shift to climate-friendly cooling.

The main objectives of the project are to:

• Raise awareness among end-users and the distribution chain on climate friendly cooling and natural refrigerants
• Increase the uptake of training and certification on climate-friendly alternatives
• Accelerate the shift towards climate-friendly technologies and develop technical specifications for the use of non-fluorinated technologies using natural refrigerants
• Support an effective and timely achievement of the EU 2030 climate targets (for small supermarkets up to 1,000m²)

Cooling is an important factor in the worldwide effort against climate change. 1-2% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) stem from food retail, and stores selling food have a 50% higher energy usage than other commercial buildings. Refrigeration makes up to 30-50% of total energy in a store and therefore is a large contributor to a food retailer’s overall environmental impact.

The project consortium consists of eight partners from across Europe, bringing together organic retail associations, experts and technicians of the refrigeration sector and market developers: HEAT (project leader, Germany), shecco (Belgium), AgroBio - Associação Portuguesa de Agricultura Biológica (Portugal), BNN – Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren (Germany), SEAE - Sociedad Española de Agricultura Ecológica/Agroecología (Spain), BIV – Bundesinnungsverband des Deutschen Kälteanlagenbauerhandwerks (Germany), KNVvK - Koninklijke Nederlandse Vereniging voor Koude (The Netherlands) and STEK - Stichting Emissiepreventie Koudetechniek (The Netherlands).

Project activities started in June 2019 with a kick-off workshop in Germany and will continue until end of 2021. In its first phase, a market survey will give insight on the current as well as future situation and needs of RACHP end-users in the organic retail / small food retail sector. In a second step the project partners will develop a European stock model about RACHP technology and its related emissions.

If you are interested to know more about this project please visit the project website at


Britta Pätzold,

The Ref, Nat! for LIFE project has received funding from the LIFE Programme of the European Union.