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District Cooling is not an indulgence, it is a necessity

Mohannad Khader

Commercial & Development Director

Ever wondered what a city like Doha would look like if each building had its own individual diesel generator, producing electricity? Imagine a thick gray cloud hovering over the city, masking the daylight and causing an abundance of carbon dioxide pollution, putting Qatar’s carbon footprint amongst the highest.  Unsightly buildings and the constant presence of diesel tanks generating traffic and carbon dioxide and skyrocketing expenditures for operations, maintenance, and replacements. Unimaginable? The importance of power distribution companies is evident, and a necessity, particularly for real estate developers in the planning stage.  Without power distribution companies our cities would be environmental threats decreasing the country’s economy in the process.

Governments realizes the importance of centralizing the power generation and distribution, therefore, the electrical power tariffs are subsidized, helping real estate developers and end users afford such services. Developers are not only required to connect to the power distribution, but they are also mandated to reduce the electrical power demand, yet district cooling remains on the sidelines for consideration. One of the means to reduce the electrical power demand in a city, is to use district cooling

It is worth analyzing the actual data surrounding the operations of a district cooling system to determine the cooling energy consumption, through the power consumption to generate the energy and the water required for operations. The data will reflect the energy consumption of a building using district cooling versus a building using conventional cooling.  Review of such data would benefit the government’s decision on whether district cooling is the optimum cooling service for the sustainability of the country, economic growth and energy conservation.  If we look at the benefits in a macro level, gas consumption to produce the electrical power, which is as important as the micro level of cost of service for a building. The benefits outweigh the infrastructure costs of district cooling, there should be no hesitation to mandate district cooling for all dense areas with support in subsidizing the costs, like electricity and water.  Air conditioning is not a luxury, it is a necessity, therefore district cooling needs to be viewed as a service to the society and not an indulgent option.

Conventional cooling would cost the government 220 million Qatari Riyal if it was used to produce 3 billion TR-HR, which was the cooling energy produced by Qatar Cool over the past twelve years.  This equates to the production of 1 billion KG of CO2, which is the same as adding 210,000 cars to the roads.  You would need 16 million trees to off-set the carbon emissions produced by conventional cooling.

What was considered   With the recently announced approved draft law regulating the works and services of district cooling, district cooling may have the desirable opportunity to become a controlled and mandated for certain developments ensuring the implementation of sustainable technology and safeguarding Qatar.