District cooling in a hot MEP economy
District cooling is becoming a common feature of MEP contracts in the Gulf
District cooling is becoming a common feature of MEP contracts in the Gulf. The news pages of this issue of MEP Middle East alone highlight installations that are underway in three of the largest developments in the region: Dubai Healthcare City, Pearl-Qatar and the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
The technology is proving attractive to developers and clients alike as a means of reducing capital and running costs on their sites. But as Gareth Lucken explains, the benefits do not stop there and district cooling is likely to have a significant effect on the region's economy as it progresses past the current phase of construction. In this age of energy consciousness, building a single plant to serve several properties seems an obvious way to minimise power used. The centralisation of chilled water plant to supply the air conditioning loads of large-scale developments will take pressure off of the national grid at a time when power supplies are being stretched to their limit.
Freeing up these resources will enable potential growth in other sectors.
The technology has come a long way since it first emerged in the region in the late 1990s.
The desire for progress and to provide ever more elaborate developments have helped to raise the efficiency of the systems and their installation methods.
The latest schemes to be completed in Dubai are utilising pipework materials that have been specially developed to yet further reduce any energy loss.
And with construction times always under the spotlight, the use of packaged plant was just a matter of time.
Prefabrication of the system plant offsite means months can be shaved off installation programmes.
With the focus on energy efficient design set to increase, it seems district cooling is here to stay.
If it can also help the economy grow, that's only a good thing.