District cooling has environmental benefits
With district cooling now becoming more prevalent, players in the industry are talking about the impact that the technique has and why it should be more widely used. The Edge spoke with two companies that provide cooling solutions in the region to understand how environmentally friendly the technique is.
With the spate of construction in Qatar, it is a matter of concern whether the speed of construction (driven by the high demand) is in fact sacrificing environmental safety.
The 5th Middle East Annual District Cooling Summit, to be held in Doha in November, will attempt to address these issues, the summit chairman, George Berbari, CEO, DC Pro Engineering, told The Edge, “District cooling is today considered the most sustainable and environment-friendly solution to address the cooling requirements of the burgeoning real estate and infrastructure development sector in Qatar, the region and elsewhere.
As far as Qatar is concerned, there has been a rapid development and implementation of district cooling technologies with a penetration rate of 10 percent in new projects such as The Pearl-Qatar, West Bay, Lusail, Downtown Doha and the Barwa Business Avenue, etcetera.
“District cooling uses 40 percent to 60 percent less energy than conventional cooling systems.” - Mohannad Khader, VP commercial, Qatar Cool.
Sharing his perspective on the issue, Mohannad Khader, VP commercial, Qatar Cool said that many aspects contribute to the sustainability of district cooling. “First would be the reduction in energy consumption. While GCC countries use 70 percent of the energy produced for cooling needs, district cooling provides a more efficient way of cooling that uses 40 to 60 percent less energy than conventional cooling systems and thereby releasing much lower amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.”
Additionally, Khader said, moving away from conventional cooling systems such as split units (that use harmful refrigerant gases which contribute to depletion of the ozone layer) rids the atmosphere by emitting more CO2 compared with district cooling which uses ozone-friendly refrigerant R134A. “Sustainability could also be emphasised by the ability of some district cooling systems to use different sources of water such as treated sewage effluent (TSE) and salt water. Such practices conserve the use of potable water,” Khader added.