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Tue 30 Dec 2008 04:00 AM

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A view of best practice for cooling industry

Fouad Youanan, CEO of City Cool talks to MEP about district cooling and best practice.

Fouad Youanan, CEO of City Cool talks to MEP about district cooling and best practice.

Can you tell us about the District Cooling Best Practice Guide that was released recently at the District Cooling conference? What are the guidelines in it and how will it affect the construction industry?

The District Cooling Best Practice Guide is a nearly 200-page technical guidebook for district energy professionals around the world.

The Guide represents thousands of man-hours of collective industry contributions and decades of practical business operations experience.

Intended to be a guidebook to the business of designing, constructing and operating a district cooling system, the Best Practice Guide is not just a series of technical codes and standards, but addresses the variety of challenges and opportunities involved in a complex and fast-moving industry.

Other features of the book also include system design, marketing and business development, permitting, construction, commissioning, operations, controls and optimisation of district cooling schemes.

Is this is an official guide endorsed by the UAE authorities?

No it is not.

How is district cooling an efficient solution to tackle the increasing consumption of power and energy?

While conventional air-cooling technologies depend on individual air conditioning units, district cooling systems use thermal energy in the form of chilled water produced in a centralised cooling plant, resulting in the consumption of 50% less energy.

The chilled water is distributed to a range of residential, commercial and government buildings through a network of underground pipes instead of using one local system for each building, thus creating both economic and environmental benefits.

This results in reduced ambient noise and better temperature control for residents in their homes, while building owners or landlords can gain from reduced capital, operating and maintenance costs and substantial savings in power and electricity usage.

District cooling systems can be made more effective in tackling sustainability issues by utilising existing natural resources for power and water consumption in an intelligent manner.

For instance, treated wastewater can be placed instead of natural water for producing chilled water in district cooling systems. And City Cool as a utility company, besides being a district cooling service provider, has specialised expertise in this area.

The UAE just came in as a highest as the country with the largest carbon footprint. Any comments?

The massive construction boom, along with lifestyle factors such as exponential increase in use of cars, has led to the UAE being declared as the country with the largest carbon footprint.

But there is a growing concern among authorities and increasing awareness among developers to address this issue. This is being reflected in green building guidelines announced by the Dubai and Abu Dhabi governments.

Further to this, there are many initiatives that have been launched by the authorities to ensure that new developments utilise eco-friendly technologies that reduce the carbon footprint and increase the use of renewable energy resources.

For instance, the Estidama programme announced by Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, the Green Building Code being developed by the Dubai Municipality and the development of Masdar city which is a zero-carbon, zero-waste, car-free city.

The awakening to reduce carbon emissions and the commitment towards this is re-iterated by increasing number of seminars, conferences and trade shows organised around sustainability issues in the UAE.

District cooling, which saves the environment and conserves energy, reduces thousands of tons of CO2 emissions. Hence, district cooling is no longer an option, but a necessity.

What are the projects you are working on and how are they energy-efficient, cost-effective and environment-friendly?

The total capacities of our current projects that are under execution or in the design phase is more than 600,000 tonnes of refrigeration. The largest project that is under construction now is the Sharjah Investment Center with a total capacity of 115,000 tonnes followed by Emaar's Bay La Sun project with a total capacity of 80,000 tonnes.

We have made significant advancement in the district cooling project for the upcoming Workers' Village in Abu Dhabi which is spread over 5km2.

Upon completion, the Workers' Village will receive 15,000 tonnes of cooling through an eight-chiller plant that ise being installed for this housing facility shaping up in the heart of Musaffah industrial area.

We have signed up with The Land to provide 40,000 tonnes of district cooling for the Ajmakan project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

With regard to the Bay La Sun project, we will be applying an innovative technique of utilising seawater for the district cooling scheme. This is to leverage to the maximum on natural and locally available resources that will otherwise be wasted.

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