Living and working in the UAE, one quickly becomes inured to many of the superlatives associated with the region – the biggest, the tallest, etc. Another of these superlatives was highlighted recently at the centennial conference and exhibition of the International District Energy Association (IDEA) in Washington DC.
In 2008, district cooling projects in the UAE and Qatar connected slightly more than 3,000 buildings. The region also boasts what is thought to be the largest district cooling system in the world, at The Pearl Qatar, which is expected to serve 73 million square feet of space with 130,000 TR of cooling. To put this phenomenal growth into a global context, district cooling projects in the US connected 130 new buildings in 2008.
Speaking at the conference, Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke urged US companies to perceive the Middle East as a potential export market. It is clear that the Middle East is not only the world leader in terms of the pervasiveness of district cooling, but also the size of its projects in terms of the refrigeration requirements.
With growing awareness worldwide of environmental issues, and the acknowledged role of district cooling in promoting energy efficiency over traditional cooling such as air-conditioning, it is clear the Middle East has an ongoing role to play in promoting the industry worldwide, and garnering the necessary experience, expertise and real-time data so that the entire world can benefit.
So this is one superlative we should not be blasé about; instead we can be justly proud of the gigantic strides that have been made by IDEA and the district cooling industry.