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Eco-Innovation: Qingdao Haier

Building Smarter Products

Key Environmental Performance Area:

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Products and Services)

Introduced technologies that improve energy efficiency and boost compressor capacity.

Pyroelectric infrared intelligent detection technology limits excess energy use.

Patented self-cleaning technologies promotes cleaner, healthier air.

All data and information in this case study are as of December 31, 2016, unless otherwise noted.


The number of air conditioners in use globally is expected to increase from 660 million units in 2015 to more than 1.5 billion units by 2030, which will significantly increase CO2 emissions. In 2015, air conditioners installed in 150 developing countries accounted for approximately 20 percent of residential electricity use. This resulted in 640 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, which is 2 percent of global energy-related emissions.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.


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. Haier’s Intelligent Air Conditioners exemplify this approach through the utilization of innovative technologies that 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 zero and greatly lowers the global warming potential value of each unit.

Haier Intelligent Air Conditioning and Mitsubishi jointly developed a technology related to the output speed of the air conditioner compressor. With this new technology, the cooling and heating capacity increase by an estimated 40 percent and 50 percent respectively when compared to alternatives. 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 capability 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.


In 2016, Haier has sold more than 3 million units of “Intelligent” and “Self-cleaning” air conditioners, which the company estimates save 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 700 million kWh annually, representing a decrease of approximately 500,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

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

i United Nations Environment Programme. Accelerating the Global Adoption of Energy-Efficiency and Climate-Friendly Air Conditioners. 2017. Web. 3 August 2017.

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 2016 results, published in October 2017. 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.