District Cooling


In Dubai’s hot environment, the cooling load drives significant swings between winter and summer. Cooling accounts for half of the electricity consumption in Dubai and as much as 70% during peak times. Cooling can be delivered through different technologies. RSB has carried out an independent assessment of the cooling market in Dubai to better understand the market share of technologies. Currently, 17-18% of Dubai’s cooling demand is met by district cooling with building level water-cooled solutions accounting for a further 7%. Water-cooled solutions offer superior energy efficiency (50-60%) compared to air-cooled alternatives.

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The program aims to increase penetration of district cooling from 16% of refrigeration capacity in 2011 to 40% in 2030 by regulating the district cooling industry and supporting the connection of existing buildings to district cooling. The program focuses on promoting penetration of district cooling in new building developments, as well as on connecting existing buildings to district cooling networks to improve their energy efficiency and utilization of available capacity in Dubai, where possible.

Key Initiatives

Issuance of regulations to support the adoption of District Cooling penetrations

Awareness program in support of District Cooling adoption through increased dialogue between developers, District Cooling operators and customer groups

Desalinated water conservation through use of TSE provided by Dubai Municipality for District Cooling applications

Key Facts

District cooling can be up to 60% more efficient than traditional air conditioning solutions

District cooling is the most popular water-cooled solution worldwide with over 70% of water-cooled capacity provided through district cooling

District cooling is not more expensive than traditional air conditioning. The high prices are due to retailer mark ups.