District cooling industry witnesses 'major shift'

Financial slump forces firms to optimise existing plant efficiencies

Michel Trane, Trane district leader for UAE and the Gulf.
Michel Trane, Trane district leader for UAE and the Gulf.

There has been a “major shift” in the district cooling industry “from support at the design stage to service and operational support requirements,” according to Michel Farah, Trane district leader, UAE and the Gulf.

Farah attributes the shift in focus to the impact of the global financial crisis on the district cooling industry in the UAE, which has seen reduced cooling loads in many developments due to low occupancy rates.

This has resulted in a trend whereby district cooling providers are striving to optimise the efficiencies of their existing plant in order to cut costs and help boost margins.

“Our immediate goal is to sustain our support of the market in terms of high-efficiency products, in addition to providing flexible service back-up from our professional and dedicated team,” remarked Farah.


Trane specialises in supplying high-efficiency water chillers and state-of-the-art digital controls to keep plant running at optimal efficiency. It also provides maintenance and inspection programmes to maintain chiller plant efficiency and control lifecycle cost.

“The challenge in the district cooling industry is to supply the chilled water load requirement at the lowest possible production cost. Our product range is designed around this concept, which enables the utility operator to provide the customer with the highest customer value at the lowest operating cost,” Farah added.

In terms of the overall role that district cooling plays in promoting energy efficiency, Farah believes that he “would like to see major utilities acknowledging the role of district cooling plants in this important arena, which could lead to the formulation of special kWh rates so that cost savings can be passed onto the ultimate end users.”

The latest research from Frost & Sullivan has named Trane as the “overwhelming leader” in chiller products in the dominant US market. In the UAE, Trane is associated with perhaps the most iconic building in Dubai, having supplied and installed chillers on the 155th and 159th floors of the Burj Dubai.

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