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Seawater AC project for Honolulu

Plan faces challenges as it may have environmental impact

| | Nov 15, 2012 | 4:45 pm
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Plan faces challenges as it may have environmental impact

According to a news report which appeared in HVAC&R Industry, ASHRAE’s eNewsletter, dated October 9, a plan is under way to make use of seawater for running air conditioning in Hawaii’s capital city, Honolulu’s downtown buildings.

Seawater air conditioning, or SWAC, is a system that uses a deep cold water reservoir, for example, an ocean or a lake, for cooling building interiors. In this case, the project envisages taking deep ocean water through pipes to cool a section of Honolulu, the report said and added that the plan involves driving about 100 piles approximately 0.4 kilometres to 0.8 kilometres offshore. However, the project is reportedly facing challenges, as the activity may cause vibrations, which in turn, might affect marine life, including dolphins and whales.

In the light of this, Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning has had to get a permit from National Marine Fisheries Service to cover the inadvertent taking or harassment of marine mammals, the report elaborated. In addition, it appears that the company will be required to have marine mammal scientists on-site to facilitate monitoring the impact the project might have on several species of animals.

Most of the work for the project, the news report revealed, will involve microtunneling below streets in the city’s business and financial district. The only above-ground structure will be a cooling tower, it added.

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