Greece will make huge savings in electricity use and cut its carbon emissions by thousands of tonnes thanks to a programme to replace old air-conditioning units, government officials said last week.

Launched in June, the programme allowed households to swap up to two old-style air-conditioners for new appliances that use energy-saving technology.

The deal offered 35 percent of the purchase price, up to a limit of 500 euros (700 dollars).

The scheme was financed with up to 47 million euros (67 million dollars) from European and national funds.

It ended on Saturday and resulted in 141,323 air-conditioners being scrapped, more than three times the target, the Development ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it would save more than 53 gigawatt hours of energy each year and reduce its carbon emissions by almost 47,000 tonnes.

Pressed by the European Union, the Greek government has, in recent months, accelerated initiatives to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.

The minister recently announced a major energy-saving plan for homes to be spread over two years.

Parliament is also preparing to adopt a bill aimed at limiting energy use and promoting renewable energy.

The bill contains a series of measures affecting primarily the public sector, forcing it to replace or modernise its equipment so that it consumes less energy.

It also foreshadows the digitisation of household electricity meters so consumers can better manage their electricity use, and the creation of a “green fund” to subsidise projects of businesses that want to reduce their energy consumption.