District cooling can be produced in several different ways, although they all have one key denominator, which is the significant community and metropolitan benefits.
Building/property owners are another beneficiary from district cooling, as not only does the connectivity to the system save on capital and long term operational costs, they will see an increase in the buildings value.
The use of district cooling in buildings will improve the buildings value, by improving the appearance, noise reduction and better quality indoor climate. With the removal of on-site chiller plants, and heat rejecting condensers, from individual buildings, noise and mechanical vibrations, as well as thermal plume and waste heat pollution can be significantly reduced. Whilst equipment located at a central district cooling plant can be kept under control.
Building floor space savings are also a result of connectivity to district cooling. Buildings using the system can save remarkable plant room area which would otherwise be occupied by a chiller plant. In general, it is estimated that an average of 75% of plant space, in a building, can be saved when connected to district cooling, not taking into account the space savings related to electric transformer rooms.
The buildings indoor climate is improved and the humidity is reduced, with the use of better chilled water, obtained from a district cooling plant. Health risks can also be avoided by the use of health controls, and procedures, which are carried out in district cooling plants. With the separation of the primary and secondary liquids, ensuring that there is no risk of bacterial contamination.
Building owners necessitate their concentration on their business areas; therefore district cooling will illuminate the problematic parts, such as investing in individual energy production and continuous maintenance of equipment. Additionally, changes in the electricity market prices, restrictions on the use of cooling refrigerants and other legislation factors, make district cooling an attractive alternative.
Contrary to conventional cooling methods, with district cooling the long term cooling costs are foreseeable and unwavering, as well as the operational cost for end users and/or individual owners will always be lesser. It is estimated that building owners who choose district cooling can reduce their construction costs by almost 10%, and can potentially reduce the cost of connecting to their city’s electrical network.
The system also enables building owners and management teams to simplify their processes and eliminate their on-site chiller operations and maintenance, as well as replacing them at the end of their life cycles.
Building owners can make use of the space saved by the avoidance of locally installed chillers, controls, or cooling towers, which may be upgraded and utilized for amenities further increasing the value of the building or even leased or sold for profit.
For building owners, district cooling continues to prove to be a competitive alternative when compared with building-specific solutions. However, it is not only end-users who are able to take advantage of what the system has to offer, as district cooling is also known for its many benefits for governments and societies on a larger scale.
The connection of a building to district cooling also offers improvement to the reliability and flexibility of the service. Compared with conventional centralized air-conditioning systems, district cooling systems are built with standby cooling capacity, to ensure that cooling is always available, at the central plant. Distribution systems are also generally designed with multiple loops or other back-ups to provide additional reliability in distribution.
With accurate planning with the distribution grid, supplying end-users and/or individual owner’s sub-stations, very high flexibility in supply capacity is achieved. Adjustment of supplied cooling capacity can be made simply by adding or reducing the number of heat exchanger plates in the sub-station.
In comparison, conventional methods of cooling will most likely require the installation of additional chillers, along with their auxiliary equipment, in order to increase cooling capacity.