Paul Allen and Salah Nezar, the advocates representing the standalone camp, present their arguments …
Today, the restricted availability of district cooling results in 90% of the consumers being reliant upon standalone air conditioning systems to cool their residences and places of work.
Whilst district cooling is portrayed as the saviour of our air conditioning needs, in terms of efficiency, the benefits have not been passed on to their primary stakeholder, the consumer, who has borne the brunt of excessive tariffs imposed in an unregulated district cooling sector that does not engage any of its stakeholders. Poor logistical and financial planning by district cooling providers has brought the sector to its knees.
The district cooling fraternity depicts standalone air conditioning systems as being energy inefficient at 1.7 kW/tonne for a typical air-cooled system compared to 1.0 kW/tonne for the district cooling alternative. In reality, as emphasised during the proceedings of the Summit, water-cooled standalone systems can be equally as energy efficient as district cooling, since the same plant configuration is utilised; they can also be ‘greener’ and make use of recycled water, processed on-site. Where water availability remains a challenge, standalone VRV or VRF systems can provide a very competitive solution by achieving 1.28 KW/tonne in peak summer and have even better part-load performance.
Additionally, the cost equivalent of the district cooling tariff at 1.0 kW/tonne can be used to purchase approximately 1.6 kW/tonne of electrical standalone cooling, presenting cheaper operating costs to standalone customers, particularly where VRV or VRF is used at only 1.28 kW/tonne.
Until the district cooling sector lobbies governmental authorities and produces a regulatory framework that shares the benefits with all stakeholders, especially where district cooling is mandated by master-planners, the standalone HVAC solutions offer the best value to consumers.