An assessment based on the specific TEWI value takes into account the effects of global warming during the operating period of a refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pump installation. However, not the entire ecological and economic aspects are considered.

Nevertheless, economic aspects are similarly significant as ecological ones when evaluating technologies and making investment decisions. With technical systems, the reduction of environmental impact frequently involves high costs, whereas low costs often have increased ecological consequences. For most companies, the investment costs are decisive, whereas they are often neglected during discussions about minimizing ecological problems.

For the purpose of a more objective assessment, studies* were presented in 2005 and 2010, using the example of supermarket refrigeration plants to describe a concept for evaluating Eco-Efficiency. It is based on the relationship between added value (a product's economic value) and the resulting environmental impact.

With this evaluation approach, the entire life cycle of a system is taken into account in terms of:

This means that the overall environmental impact (including direct and indirect emissions), as well as the investment costs, operating and disposal costs, and capital costs are taken into account.

The studies also confirm that an increased Eco-Efficiency can be achieved by investing in optimized plant equipment (minimized operating costs). Hereby, the choice of refrigerant and the associated system technology play an important role.

Eco-Efficiency can be illustrated in graphic representation (Example of an Eco-Efficiency evaluation): The results of the Eco-Efficiency evaluation are shown on the x-axis in the system of coordinates, whilst the results of the life cycle cost analysis are shown on the y-axis. This shows clearly: A system that is situated higher in the top right quadrant exhibits an increasingly better Eco-Efficiency – and conversely, it becomes less efficient in the bottom left sector.

The diagonals plotted into the system of coordinates represent lines of equal Eco-Efficiency. This means that systems or processes with different life cycle costs and environmental impacts can quite possibly result in the same Eco-Efficiency.

*Study 2005: Compiled by Solvay Management Support GmbH and Solvay Fluor GmbH, Hannover, in cooperation with the Information Centre on Heat Pumps and Refrigeration (IZW), Hannover.
Study 2010: Compiled by SKM ENVIROS, UK, commissioned by and in cooperation with EPEE (European Partnership for Energy and Environment).
Both projects were supported by an advisory group of experts from the refrigeration industry.

Concept of Eco-Efficiency
Concept of Eco-Efficiency
Example of an Eco-Efficiency evaluation
Example of an Eco-Efficiency evaluation