District Cooling as a Climate Solution


Join us for District Cooling Summit,  a side event of COP 28, organized by the IDEA, hosted by Empower and supported by the United Nations Environment Program District Energy in Cities Initiative. Taking place 5th December, Tuesday (Energy and Industry Transition Day), from 10.00 AM to 1.30 PM GST.

Additional Events at COP28


What is District Cooling?

District cooling is a modern, efficient way to air condition a network of buildings in cities or campuses. Central cooling plants house large, highly efficient, industrial-grade equipment that produces chilled water for supply to customer buildings through an insulated underground piping network. Cold supply water enters the building and flows through a heat exchanger, absorbing heat from the building space before recirculating back to the central plant through a closed loop return line. 

Why District Cooling?

In cities around the world, district cooling is integral energy infrastructure to reduce strain on the electric grid caused by increasing demands for air conditioning, which typically create 50%-70% of peak electricity demand. By aggregating the cooling need of a network of buildings, district cooling creates an economy of scale that drives efficiency, balances electric loads, and reduces fuel costs.

Aggregated cooling loads also make feasible creative technologies such as sustainable lake- or ocean water cooling, grey water recovery, treated sewage effluent, and thermal energy storage which reduce costs and environmental impact associated with air conditioning. Additionally, central plants skirt the sunk costs of oversized, individual chiller plants and the capital costs of installing chillers and cooling towers, freeing up valuable rooftop and building space.

What is The Cool Coalition?

Established in 2019, the UNEP-led Cool Coalition is a global multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key actors from government, cities, international organizations, businesses, finance, academia, and civil society groups to facilitate knowledge exchange, advocacy and joint action towards a rapid global transition to efficient and climate-friendly cooling. The Cool Coalition is now working with over 140 partners, and had a dedicated vertical and working group promoting district cooling. 

District Energy in Cities Initiative

Established in 2013, the District Energy in Cities Initiative is a multi-stakeholder partnership coordinated by UNEP. The Initiative aims to double the rate of energy efficiency improvements for heating and cooling in buildings by 2030, helping countries meet their climate and sustainable development targets. The Initiative supports local and national governments to build know-how and implement enabling policies that will accelerate investment in low-carbon and climate-resilient district energy systems.

District Cooling as a Climate Solution Video

District Energy in the News

IDEA District Cooling Best Practice Guide

BestPracticeGuideSmall.jpgRepresenting thousands of man-hours of compiled experience, the District Cooling Best Practice Guide is dedicated to the growth and utilization of district cooling as a means to enhance energy efficiency, to provide more sustainable and reliable energy infrastructure, and contribute to improving the global environment.

Text and illustrations provide practical insight and technical guidance on the "business" of designing, owning, and operating district cooling systems. Download now and apply best practices to your District Cooling project analysis and design!