Why You Must Develop Your Central Cooling System Following Tailor-Made Design

The HVAC industry is undergoing massive changes, as focus turns to smart buildings and enhanced energy efficiency. Every manufacturer wants to boost the industry by providing by designing customizable systems, a wide range of sensors and enhanced capabilities, putting into consideration the need for reduced energy consumption. Central cooling installations are also moving towards optimum performance and energy efficiency.

A district cooling system features a centralized energy plant whose purpose is to produce chilled water for distribution to buildings. As part of the system, the buildings are connected via underground pipes. The system comprises of the following major components:

  • Centralized energy plant
  • Distribution network
  • Energy Transfer Station (ETS)- heat exchangers connecting to secondary networks

Fig 1: Components of a District Cooling System

When customer buildings have been served, the water returns to central plant for chilling and is then re-circulated.

Basics of Tailor-Made Designs

The uniqueness of central cooling systems can be promoted in various ways. However, the most important thing is for the owner to determine what they need before the provider comes in.

On their part, the providers will study factors such as environment, space, runtime and power sizing. They then design the correct district cooling system to offer a highly efficient and optimized solution.

For clients that find it hard to outline their goals, it is imperative for the provider to guide. Confusion is common given all the regulatory, financial, environmental and technical requirements.

Fig 2: Clients Are Often with Numerous Questions

Reasons for Tailor-Made Designs

The concept of tailor-made central cooling systems is based on taking into consideration the actual conditions. Experience reveals that systems designed this way function better. Some of the benefits are higher energy efficiency, more efficient installation and higher longevity. These benefits are appreciable for energy companies, property owners and consultants.


A tailor made design process ensures that the DC provider and the plant owners form a solid partnership. Walking the owner through the entire process is important, as this is an opportunity to answer any questions.

Such questions revolve around the role government’s role in the implementation of DC. As a utility, DC needs adequate regulatory framework to protect consumers, providers and developers.

Remember that government interventions vary from country to country, so the idea of tailor made designs makes even more sense. Generally, government intervention should cover three areas namely technical codes/service standards, designation of zones and tariff regulation. It is especially crucial to identify the high-density areas, as that is where district cooling makes most sense.

Fig 3: Cooling Technology Cost vs. Cooling Density

Not One-Size-Fits-All

When it comes to district cooling systems, absoluteness has no place. Smaller does not always translate into higher efficiency and larger is not always better. The efficiency, reliability and size of the system are dependent on many aspects including ambient air conditions, utility pricing and government input.

A cooling load profile simulation is the hallmark of precise system design, as it takes into account specific ambient conditions. It may be a strenuous process, but it minimizes errors associated with energy performance prediction. Powerful computer software comes in handy in the determination of the cooling load profile.

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Distribution Network Is a Factor

A distribution network that is incorrectly sized can lead to problems, for example Low Delta T syndrome. If the network is not strong enough to accommodate the increased water flow required by an oversized system, it might not work. Even if it does, insufficient flow will affect effectiveness and operating efficiency, leading to premature failure of the chiller and other costly components.

We have seen cases where institutions have existing district energy infrastructure. Some may even have a chiller plant in place. For such projects, it is important to have all the details before recommending a solution that can possibly incorporate the old system.

Tests Help Size System Correctly

For central cooling systems to perform optimally, the DC contractor will conduct a number of tests. A good example is the hydraulic testing that is done for the chilled water pipework to rule out any leaks. Since the test results can vary from one system to the other, it is important to have a tailor made design.



Central cooling systems offer incredible benefits to increasing urban settings. They have been proven to provide operational efficiency, cost efficiency, environmental protection and comfort. However, it is imperative for prospective users to consider tailor-made designs if they are to enjoy the full benefits. Governments are urged to enhance interventions, as the long-term fuel savings and capacity benefits are evident. This way, the technology will play a monumental role even in national development.



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