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Eco-Innovation icon Eco-Innovation: Qingdao Haier

Building Smarter Products

Key Environmental Performance Area:

  • Gas Emissions (Products and Services)

Introduced technologies that improve energy efficiency and boost compressor capacity.

Patented self-cleaning technologies promotes cleaner, healthier air.

Pyroelectric infrared intelligent detection technology limits excess energy use.

Challenge

In the United States, air conditioning accounts for 5 percent of total electricity use. As a result, an estimated 100 million tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), are released annually into the air – an average of 2 tons per household. In addition, the refrigerants that provide cooling power to air conditioners are greenhouses gases that can cause 1,000 times more global warming than CO2.i Air conditioner manufacturers have an opportunity to reduce environmental impacts through more energy-efficient designs and improved cooling technology and inputs.

Qingdao Haier (“Haier”) is a leading white goods brand in China that designs, manufactures, and sells consumer electronics and home appliances.

Response

Haier focuses significant resources on product research and development in order to design, market, and sell products that are both more efficient and cost-effective. Examples of this emphasis are Haier’s Intelligent Air Conditioners, which utilize a number of innovative technologies to provide improved energy efficiency, healthier air, and more comfort. According to the company’s assessments, these technologies have the following impacts.

Improved Energy Efficiency

Haier Intelligent Air Conditioning, a group within Haier, and Xi'an Jiaotong University jointly developed an integrated combination of tube heat exchanger technology to solve the problem of low efficiency of the heat exchanger tube diameter. According to company estimates, this enhances energy savings by 7 percent, thereby creating an innovative heat exchanger technology.

Haier Intelligent Air Conditioners also utilize R290, the latest refrigerant. Air conditioning units that use R290 refrigerant will emit nearly 200 tons less carbon dioxide over their lifetime according to company estimates. Each of these air conditioning units charges only 280g of R290 refrigerant, which is 70 percent less than the previous type R22 refrigerant. Use of this refrigerant reduces the ozone depletion potential to 0 and greatly lowers the global warming potential value of each unit.

Haier Intelligent Air Conditioning and Mitsubishi jointly built a technology related to the output speed of the air conditioning compressor. With this new technology, the cooling and heating capacity increase an estimated 40 percent and 50 percent compared to alternatives, respectively. Cooling and heating can function immediately, even under very high or low temperatures.

Healthier Air

Haier launched a patented self-cleaning air-conditioning technology – the first of its kind – that allows units to conduct their own deep cleaning to ensure cleaner air. This function uses patented self-cleaning sapphire coating technology and has a 99.99 percent effective antimicrobial capabilities that could help reduce breathing issues through a cleaner air experience.

Haier developed patented cold expansion technology, which peels dirt off of the heat exchanger due to the expansion force of 960 kg/cm2 per gram of water created by the freezing of water.

More Comfort

Haier utilizes pyroelectric infrared intelligent detection technology, which identifies the human body and its position, allowing the unit to provide air conditioning appropriate for the space and the people in it, limiting excess energy use.

Resultsii

In the past three years, Haier has sold approximately 934,000 units, which the company estimates saves approximately 247 kWh per air conditioner unit per year compared to alternative options. Given this efficiency improvement, these products reduce power consumption by an estimated 231 million kWh annually since 2013, representing a decrease of approximately 306,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Haier began participating in KKR's green program in 2016 and is reporting for the first time. For more on the company’s social responsibility efforts, visit its website.


i U.S. Department of Energy." Air Conditioning." n.d. Web.14 June 2016. http://energy.gov/energysaver/air-conditioning.

ii Self-reported portfolio company data is not calculated, reviewed or independently verified by KKR or KKR Capstone. For more information regarding the results methodology for companies evaluating their own data, please see the methodology section. There is no guarantee that any GSP-related avoided costs or added efficiencies will positively impact the portfolio company’s valuation or performance.

Unless otherwise noted, portfolio company data represents 2015 results, published in August 2016. These case studies may contain forward looking statements including descriptions of planned projects and projected results and savings. These statements are subject to the risk that the projects will not develop as planned or at all or that projected results and savings are not realized.