District Cooling
February 4, 2024
Keeping it Chill: Combating the Throes of Heat Through District Cooling
How do you keep a mammoth building cool and energy efficient? Well, the answer is district cooling! Whether it be homes, offices, commercial spaces, or smart cities, district cooling is here to save the day with its ‘cool’ superpowers.

District cooling operates on a simple principle. Firstly, it produces cool water in a central system and then distributes the cooled water throughout the building via underground pipes and provides them with air conditioning. This not only keeps the building cool but also ensures energy and electricity efficiency. Conquering two problems with one solution!

These district cooling systems have been around for a long time, since ancient Rome actually, and are prevalent in Middle Eastern, European, and Scandinavian countries. But in recent years, with the soaring temperatures and constant talk of climate change, their presence has never been more important. Governments and private entities have scampered to integrate district cooling systems into their smart city plans. In January 2024, the Knowledge Economic City of the Middle East region signed a contract with a consortium of three companies, City Cool, Johnson Controls Arabia, and ADC Energy Systems, to build a chilled water district cooling plant.

Another reason to celebrate district cooling systems is their ability to make use of renewable energy sources, particularly geothermal energy, to run their operations. In September 2023, ADNOC and the National Central Cooling Company PJSC (Tabreed) uncovered the lid on their partnership to decarbonize the cooling of buildings in Masdar City. The partnership has plans to use the untapped power of geothermal energy to oil the wheels of Tabreed’s district cooling network at Masdar City.

The significance of district cooling is undeniable, and in a world that constantly chases sustainability and eco-friendly solutions, district cooling is sure to gain a strong foothold.