Innovation Community on Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings

Innovation community on affordable heating and cooling of buildings is a global ‘innovation community’ focused on low carbon affordable heating and cooling of buildings. We seek to strengthen the clean energy innovation ecosystem and to facility new partnerships and collaborations accelerating innovation and providing pathways to net zero.

Innovation Challenges are global calls to action aimed at catalysing global research in areas that could provide significant benefits in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy access and security and creating new opportunities for clean economic growth. IC7 – Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings Innovation Challenge, is one of the seven Innovation Challenges which were launched at COP22 in November 2016 with an objective to make low-carbon heating and cooling affordable for everyone.

The IC7 has transitioned into the Innovation Community on Affordable Heating and Cooling of buildings during the MI 2.0 launch at the 6th ministerial in Chile in June 2021. 

Globally, buildings account for almost a third of final energy consumption, with space heating and cooling, and the provision of hot water, accounting for approximately half of this consumption. The ultimate goal of the affordable heating and cooling of buildings Innovation Challenge is to develop core building heating and cooling systems and measures to improve building envelopes that deliver affordable heating and cooling without the carbon emissions.

The Issue

The relative energy demand for heating and cooling varies globally. In the Northern Hemisphere energy consumption for space and water heating is steadily increasing. Cooling currently represents a smaller proportion of global energy demand, though it is an area of significant future growth, with an 300% increase in space cooling demand anticipated by 2050 in emerging and developing economies. Increasing global temperatures resulting from the effects of climate change will also contribute significantly to this growth.

Currently, three-quarters of the global energy requirement for heat is met by burning fossil fuels, and one third of global energy-related CO2 emissions can be attributed to the provision of heat. Energy consumption for space cooling is primarily dependent on electricity and to a lesser extent natural gas, so is also associated with a high carbon load.

In order to encourage low-carbon heating and cooling uptake, solutions should cost the same or less than fossil fuelled alternatives. A particular challenge relating to low-carbon heating and cooling is the mismatch between supply and demand. Significant daily and seasonal variations in heating and cooling demand are compounded by daily and seasonal variations in the supply of energy from renewable sources. This results in a need for intra-day and, in some regions, inter-seasonal energy storage. Affordability needs to be judged at a systems level, with energy efficiency also an essential element within this Innovation Challenge.

The Opportunity

Innovation through the use of new materials, processes, and systems provides a significant opportunity to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Such innovative technologies and practices have important economic and social potential with respect to reducing energy bills, enhancing global access to energy, increasing the competitiveness of renewable technologies and improving energy security.

This Innovation Challenge will provide a platform for international collaboration with the potential to considerably accelerate innovation in the heating and cooling arena. It will involve the development of new solutions and taking cost out of existing and emerging solutions. This will be achieved through the collective research effort and the commitment to double spend on clean energy research.


  • Convene the global research and innovation community for heating and cooling of buildings, with a shared and prioritised innovation agenda and dedicated working groups;
  • Facilitate research collaborations and accelerate private investment in delivering significant innovation and impact across the international heating and cooling space;
  • Provide a repository with information of state-of-the-art innovation topics; and,
  • Communicate beyond the community, disseminating the challenges and opportunities of low carbon heating and cooling to wider audiences.

Co-Leads:   European Union   India  United Kingdom

Participants: Australia,    Canada,    Finland,  Korea,  Morocco,  Netherlands,  Saudi Arabia,  Sweden,    United Arab Emirates

Participating Organisations: International Energy Agency (IEA), Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR)


  • Defining priorities for innovation around technologies, systems, commercial/ business models, human interaction and considering connectivity to the wider energy system.
  • Identifying specific innovation needs (e.g. through deep-dive workshops, reports, and innovation roadmaps).
  • Building on previous IC7 work to deliver impact across the international heating and cooling space:
    • E.g. ‘Comfort Climate Box for Cooling’ (CCB2)
    • E.g. Sustainable cooling roadmaps for cities (with GCoM and UNEP)
  • Facilitating new research collaborations and connecting with other organizations to leverage additional benefits (e.g. Race to Zero, the Cool Coalition, Horizon Europe European Partnerships, Positive Energy Districts, etc).
  • Supporting innovation projects within MI Missions and support the development of National Cooling Action Plans.
  • Providing a repository with live library/database/information on state-of-the-art innovation topics.
  • Convening the innovation community to share research findings, national RD&D priorities, lessons learned and best practices (e.g. at workshops, forums, webinars).
  • Disseminating the challenges and opportunities of low carbon heating and cooling to a wider audience.



For More information:

The Innovation Community has launched an online wiki platform to provide a repository with live library/database/information on state-of-the-art innovation topics. Any field related professional can join the wiki platform and contribute to the repository. Please find the link below to the wiki platform and register yourself.  

Home || Innovation Community on AHCB ( 


For more details on the Innovation community’s previous activities, click the link below 

IC7: Affordable Heating and Cooling of Buildings 

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