Whether climate change is human-caused or not, the creation of companies like Qatar Cool and the environmental commitment of the country of Qatar benefit the economy, humanity in general, and the earth we live on.
Qatar Cool Expands Central Cooling to District Size
Working off economies of scale, Qatar District Cooling Company (Qatar Cool) is centralising the cooling systems of buildings throughout the country’s regions. By providing cooling plants in major districts to replace individual air conditioning units in buildings, Qatar Cool saves carbon emissions, lowers energy use by 40-60%, decreases noise pollution, and saves building owners money in construction and maintenance costs.
Centralised heating and cooling is not a new concept. It’s how the Romans supplied their citizens with hot public baths millennia ago. Many countries around the world have similar set-ups today. The system is fairly new in Qatar, however, and Qatar Cool is currently the country’s leading supplier of chilled water for air conditioning.
Qatar Cool is a thirteen-year-old, private company run by Mr. Yasser Salah Al Jaidah, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Al Jaidah has over a decade of energy experience and has held positions throughout the field, which include maintenance, operations, engineering, project management,marketing and venture projects on four continents in countries such as Qatar, Korea, Japan, France, Norway, USA, Italy, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Qatar Cool has been recognised for their innovative practices by the International District Energy Association (IDEA), has been given “The Award of Excellence” for a municipal scheme serving more than 10,000 citizens, conveyed at the 3rd Global Energy Climate Awards, and was awarded “The Best District Cooling Provider” at the Climate Control Middle East award ceremony.
The company was also presented with the “International Safety Award” for 2014 and 2015 by The British Safety Council, the “Industrial Building Conservation Award” from Tarsheed Kahramaa and, more significantly, the “System of the Year” award for both districts served, from the International District Energy Association (IDEA) – a great honor to receive from such a prominent association at the top of the industry.
Qatar Cool has three plants currently in operation, with another scheduled to open in 2016 – built to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver standard. The two operational plants in the West Bay district currently serve fifty two towers with a combined cooling capacity of 67,000 tons of refrigeration (TR). The third plant, once operational, will have a cooling capacity of 40,000 TR to meet the growing demand. The total area served in West Bay is more than 2 million square meters (21 million square feet), serving more than 50% of Doha’s West Bay skylines. These include governmental offices, ministries, hotels, residential, commercial retail and office complexes. Qatar Cool’s West Bay plants are equipped to use Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) in their operational plants.
The third operating plant, located in the Pearl Qatar, has a cooling capacity of 130,000 TR which supplies the man-made island, making it the main eco-friendly technology on the island. Qatar Cool’s Integrated District Cooling Plant (IDCP) was inaugurated in November 2010 and is the largest cooling plant in the world. The total area to be served, once the island is completely supplied, is 41 million square feet, occupied by 41,000 residents (approximately 15,000 apartments & 700 villas) and comprised mainly of hotels and shopping centres.
Qatar Cool has also introduced a new business model where it designs, builds, operates and maintains District Cooling Plants for developers such as Al Gassar Resort and St. Regis Hotel in Doha. Most recently the company signed with Qatar Railways Company for the provision of district cooling to seven of Doha’s Metro Red Line stations. These efforts are on-going and if successful can be expected to contribute significantly to the long term growth of the company.
How It Works
Qatar Cool’s plants essentially replace the regular HVAC units used by most modern buildings. Instead of each building having its own cooling systems (thereby having to maintain the system and replace dysfunctional parts) there is a double circulation system that meets in the basement of each building. Qatar Cool produces and circulates its chilled water to multiple buildings through a network of pre-insulated underground pipes. The chilled water contacts each building’s HVAC system via an Energy Transfer Station (ETS), where it passes through thin metal plates of a uniquely designed Plate Heat Exchanger (PHE). This cools the building’s air conditioning liquid, also passing through the plates, which then circulates the building to chill the air throughout.
In addition to eliminating the worry of maintaining chillers or cooling towers, building owners benefit by having an air conditioning system that works all hours of the day and night. Any necessary maintenance shutdowns are covered by Qatar Cool. Not only does a building save money and energy, but without cooling towers or chillers on the premises, the building is both quieter and more attractive.
Qatar Cool’s great core strength comes from its employees, who are oriented toward providing high quality operational efficiency and service. State of the art facilities and a focus on customer service enhance that strength. The company has built-in feedback loops that allow employees to respond quickly to customer requests. Employees are trained to know more than just their jobs, and to be responsible for their own health and safety.
Environmental Benefits & Initiatives
Air conditioning amounts to 70% of all electricity consumption in the Middle East, so any savings in electricity helps the environment. Qatar Cool’s system uses half of the electricity of most normal cooling systems. Together their operational plants have saved over one million kilowatts of power during the past six years.
According to Mr. Al Jaidah, “We have achieved the elimination of over 200 million kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This is equivalent to removing over 26 thousand vehicles from the roads or planting 14 million mature trees.”
Qatar Cool is currently enacting several additional environmental initiatives:
The implementation of Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) in their West Bay cooling plants was recently introduced.
Qatar Cool and Tarsheed plan to work together to deploy key messages and implement programs on energy conservation and efficiency to schools, residents and business owners.
Qatar Cool is a member of the Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) and is active in the Green Education Interest Group, which focuses on educating and training university students on sustainability and environmental issues.
Qatar Cool is sponsoring a Green Program for Schools (GPS) under the banner of Oryx Advertising and Qatar Today Magazine. The GPS is an engaging, green environmental initiative for students that goes beyond typical competitions, placing the responsibility of sustainability directly on the students.
In an effort to enhance the conservational impact and development of district cooling, Qatar Cool and the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) have entered into a partnership to improve district cooling efficiency and to research expanded use of Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE).
To increase awareness about climate change, the company supports the annual Earth Hour global initiative by cutting use of all inessential electricity at each plant for an hour. This year’s Earth Hour is March 19 at 8:30 PM.
Conserve Today, Preserve Tomorrow leaflet – This leaflet, made and distributed by Qatar Cool, consists of useful tips for conserving energy, such as maintaining optimal temperatures, closing off unoccupied rooms, conducting regular maintenance and more, for both users and building management.
Other – The company produces another leaflet that shows the benefits of district cooling for customers, society as a whole, and the government. It highlights the fact that electricity is a subsidised commodity that provides financial gain when use is reduced. It also reduces the demand for natural gas, which is in line with the country’s National Gas Conservation Strategy.
Qatar Cool is a good example of how mitigating climate change can result in the emergence of profitable and environmentally supportive companies. Whether climate change is human-caused or not, the creation of companies like Qatar Cool and the environmental commitment of the country of Qatar, itself, benefit the economy, humanity in general, and the earth we live on.
Written by: Susette Horspool
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