In Ghana, new refrigerators save energy for thousands of households

May 21, 2021

Mr. Baffoe saves about $ 25/month in electricity consumption (Photo credit: Bossman Owusu, UNDP in Ghana)

“I wish I had replaced my old refrigerator earlier. When it comes to refrigerators, I can find a million reasons why new is better than old,” says George Effah Baffoe, a retired engineer and father of five as he turns in his old refrigerator for a new, energy efficient one.

Together, the two million fridges and air conditioning units used in Ghana consume three times more energy than the maximum allowed in countries with more solid regulations. For many, this means an additional expenditure of USD 50 to USD 100 on electricity every year.

Across the country, every energy inefficient appliance generates over 0.7 tons of carbon emissions each year. When not properly disposed, these appliances release up to two tons of ozone-depleting substances into the atmosphere.

To reduce Ghana’s carbon emission and other ozone depleting substance related to energy, the Government of Ghana launched a “rebate and turn in” programme in September 2012, with the support of UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The scheme encourages consumers to exchange their old refrigerators for new and efficient ones, available at a discounted price.

A massive campaign was launched on television and the radio, reaching out to the general public on energy efficient appliances, standards and labels.

Having learned about the rebate scheme through a radio promo, Mr. Baffoe turned in two old refrigerators for a three-star equivalent and received a rebate of USD 70.
He now saves USD 25 per month on electricity. “As a retiree, this amount is very significant. It is especially beneficial at a time like this, when the electricity company of Ghana has increased tariffs across the country,” he says.

Thanks to the programme, more than 5,200 units of old, energy inefficient appliance have been replaced across the country and 15,000 are expected to be replaced by the end of 2015. The law now requires that all new refrigerators carry official energy efficiency labels.

A ban on the importation of used refrigerating appliance in 2013 prevented over 260,000 old appliances from entering into the country and an 80 percent drop in their imports by the end of 2014.

“The few that are smuggled into the country are confiscated at the ports and decommissioned at recycling facilities. So far over 20,000 seized refrigerators have been sent to the recycling facilities”, says Eric Kumi Antwi-Agyei, the Project Coordinator at the Energy Commission of Ghana.

UNDP and GEF have so far invested over USD 2.1 million into the programme, helping the Energy Commission and Environmental Protection Agency to bring scrap dealers, retailers and consumers into the scheme.

“With this intervention, Ghana makes an annual energy savings of 34,550MWh, enough to power 11,516 households in a year”, says Eric Kumi Antwi-Agyei.  

UNDP continues to support the Government of Ghana to promote the country’s transition towards a green economy and a low-carbon and climate resilient society.
As part of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, Ghana has embarked on a UNDP-supported action plan to provide universal energy access, improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy for all Ghanaians by 2030.

For more information on the project, visit the website.