UAE : District cooling, the answer to cooling problems and energy efficient buildings


After years of taking their energy resources for granted, Dubai has recently started to realize the need to control electricity demand and improve energy efficiency in the building sector. Low electricity tariffs are among the factors blamed for surge in air conditioning, allowing for the high consumption of energy through cooling systems which account for 60 – 70 per cent of UAE’s energy structure, according to Dr. Thani Al Zayoudi, Director of Energy and Climate Change at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Despite several challenges, UAE’s environment officials are working together with relevant experts to invest in cleaner solutions.

Saeed Al Abbar, the Chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council, said that a large portion of UAE carbon footprint is from the building and construction industry. By investing in technologies and taking the necessary steps to enhance the competency, a system called district cooling is already underway, which can reduce energy consumption by up to 40 per cent. This accounts for approximately 20 per cent of the UAE’s cooling energy.

District cooling is a technology  whereby a cooling system is provided on an industrial scale, therefore eliminating the need of an air conditioning system in each building. District cooling provides the district and buildings, through economies of scale, to be more efficient.

While the Abu Dhabi Emirate have had district cooling for over 15 years, newer locations such as the Downtown Burj Khalifa area and the Dubai International Financial Centre have installed the technology just recently.

Rather than paying extra for a device installed in their own property, building owners would now pay a lower consumption charge to district cooling providers in exchange for air conditioning services. This allows for a higher energy efficiency of the building.


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