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Open season

A courtroom-style set-up for a debate on district cooling and standalone systems encourages an air of openness …

| | Apr 21, 2011 | 12:10 pm
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A courtroom-style set-up for a debate on district cooling and standalone systems encourages an air of openness …

HVAC professionals from the district cooling and standalone air conditioning camps met at the Climate Control Summit, on March 28 and 29, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre to debate on the two systems and to understand how best to provide comfort cooling solutions in the region.

The debate, styled to resemble the dynamics of a courtroom, attracted contractors, consultants, suppliers, service providers and end users in the shape of representatives of developers. Dr Nawal Al Hosany of Masdar served as the judge, and Ghaleb Abusaa of en3 Solutions as the technical advisor to the judge. The end-users formed the jury. Salah Nezar of Qatar Project Management and Paul Allen of Red Engineering were the advocates for the standalone camp, whereas Mike Hicks of Stanley Consultants and George Berbari of DC Pro Engineering were the advocates for the district cooling camp.

After giving brief opening statements, the advocates called ‘witnesses’ belonging to the two camps to a purpose-built witness box for a round of questioning and cross-examination related to six pre-determined issues for discussion. The issues were:

  • Occupancy profiles and cooling approaches
  • Delivering on promises, meeting cooling requirements on schedule
  • Financing of cooling projects
  • Costs and the end-user
  • Safeguarding the environment | health and safety issues
  • Water and its availability

After a day and a half of questioning and cross-examination, the advocates presented their closing statements, following which the jury retired to deliberate on the outcome of the proceedings. Eventually, they presented a series of recommendations, following which the judge gave the closing remarks.

The courtroom-style set-up encouraged each camp to engage in a rare exercise of intellectual honesty and openness. The opportunity to cross-examine meant no ‘witness’ could get away with his or her statements without substantiating them; the advocates ensured this did not happen. In that sense, the courtroom-style set-up did unearth some useful observations and insights, which represent threads for further discussions, which in the context of the downturn, the participants agreed, are helpful in finding solutions to some vexing challenges the downturn has posed.

See related stories: –

» The standalone camp
Paul Allen and Salah Nezar, the advocates representing the standalone camp, present their arguments

» The district cooling camp
George Berbari and Mike Hicks, the advocates representing the district cooling camp, present their arguments.

» We the Jury
This is what the jury had to say in the form of observations on the discussions related to each of the six topics

» Judge Speak
Judge Dr Nawal Al Hosany, after consulting her technical advisor, Ghaleb Abusaa, presented the closing remarks. An Emirati, she spoke from a national, regional and a global perspective

» Snapshots from the event

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