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How District Cooling Can Keep Cities Cool

By District Energy posted 09-13-2022 12:52


Globe World News Echo


District cooling is something like district heating, only in reverse. Cold water flows through the pipes instead of hot. In this way, cities can prepare themselves for climate change. Munich wants to be a European pioneer with a network.

Air conditioners are power guzzlers – and the number is increasing. Due to climate change and increasing summer heat, homeowners are increasingly installing air conditioning in their buildings. The associated fans and heat pumps must be installed on facades or roofs. This means that space is lost that could be used for greening the facade or as a roof terrace. In addition, air conditioners not only generate cold, but also a lot of heat, which they emit into the environment and thus heat up cities even more.

The Munich district cooling network is now around 28 kilometers long. These are insulated pipes with a diameter of around 50 cm, similar to those in a district heating network. In one of three refrigeration centers under downtown Munich, refrigeration systems cool the water from a city stream down to six to ten degrees. This works much more efficiently than with classic air conditioning systems.

Put simply, this could be explained as follows: Classic air conditioning systems work with outside air, which is often 30 degrees. It then has to be cooled down by about 20 degrees. The water in the Stadtbach rarely exceeds 18 degrees, so it only needs to be cooled by eight degrees. The cool water is then pumped through the pipe network to the customers. They can in turn cool the air in their rooms.

Around 100 large buildings in downtown Munich are already being cooled in this way. For example the “Platzl Hotel” with 170 rooms. Hotel manager Heiko Buchta, who is clearly in a good mood, welcomes his guests to the cool hotel lobby. About two years ago, they removed the old power-guzzling air conditioning system and connected the house to the district cooling network. “I’m very satisfied,” says Buchta. “Due to the fact that the cold is produced here with very little energy, this solution means we are isolated from the fluctuations on the world market and the prices there.” Estimated cost savings: 100,000 to 150,000 euros per year.

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