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Fri 31 Jul 2009 04:00 AM

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Cool savings

Michel Farah, Trane district leader: UAE and the Gulf, talks to MEP Middle East about the important role that district cooling continues to play in reducing energy consumption in cities.

Cool savings

Michel Farah, Trane district leader: UAE and the Gulf, talks to MEP Middle East about the important role that district cooling continues to play in reducing energy consumption in cities.

Can you give us a biref description of the company?

Trane has over 55 years' experience in providing efficient and reliable chillers to the commercial market. It offers scroll, helical rotary, centrifugal and absorption chillers in capacities from 20 to 3,950 tons, cooling towers and packaged combinations of all the above. Trane's CenTraVac is touted as the industry's most efficient, reliable, quietest, lowest emission chiller.

A business of Ingersoll Rand, Trane solutions optimise indoor environments with a broad portfolio of energy-efficient heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems, building and contracting services, parts support and advanced controls for homes and commercial buildings.

What do you supply to the district cooling industry?

Trane supplies high-efficiency water chillers and state-of-the-art digital controls to keep plant running at its optimal efficiency. It also supplies comprehensive maintenance and inspection programmes to maintain chiller plant efficiency and to control the lifecycle cost.

The challenge in the district cooling industry is to supply the chilled water load requirement at the lowest possible production cost. Our product range is designed around this concept, which enables the utility operator to provide the highest customer value at the lowest operating cost.

What have been some major projects to date?

Trane has supplied many district cooling plants both in the region and across the world. In the UAE specifically, its chiller systems are operating at the Burj Dubai, Dubai Healthcare city, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Palm Jumeirah, DIFC and Dubai World Central, for example. What percentage of your business is dependent on district cooling?

Around 20% to 30% of our total business is related to district cooling products and services. It is based on satisfying utility operators in terms of product reliability and service excellence in helping them maintain their plants at optimum efficiency.

Any growth or expansion plans on the cards in the near future?

Certainly in providing audit and inspection programmes to all district cooling plant operators, which will help them assess plant efficiency and evaluate their adherence to proper operational procedures.

How much demand is there at present for district cooling services? What is the typical lead time?

We have seen a major shift from support at the design stage to service and operational support requirements. Our immediate goals are to sustain our support of the market in terms of high-efficiency products, in addition to providing flexible support from our professional and dedicated team.

What are some of the latest developments?

District cooling plants reduce the load on the power grid significantly. I would like to see major utilities acknowledging their role in this important area, which could lead to the formulation of special kWh rates so that the cost-savings realised can be passed onto end users.

The demands for occupant comfort, energy efficiency, environmental responsibility and regulatory compliance are high, and will continue to increase, placing additional pressure on building professionals.

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