District Cooling Overview

District cooling is an essential utility for sustainable economic and urban development.

In its simplest form, district cooling is the production and distribution of chilled water from a central source to facilitate air conditioning. This is done by producing chilled water at a central plant and then piping the water to customers through an underground insulated pipes network.

District cooling is suitable for large-scale, high density developments such as downtown business districts, airports, military bases, university campuses, residential towers and commercial establishments.

Depending on availability, district cooling plants can utilize a variety of conventional fuels such as coal, oil or natural gas. They can also be converted to use renewable fuels such as biomass, geothermal, and combined heat and power.

District Cooling is a simple process:

  • A central plant chills water
  • A primary water circuit then distributes the chilled water to customers' buildings through an underground insulated pipes network
  • A secondary water circuit in the customers' building circulates the cold water
  • Air is then forced past the cold water tubing to produce an A/C environment
  • The warmer water of the primary circuit is returned to the central plant to be re-chilled and recycled