An Air Conditioner As Big As A Country: Seven Takeaways on Tabreed's Digital Transformation

We're extremely proud to announce that National Central Cooling Company, the district cooling utility company based in the United Arab Emirates also known as Tabreed, is integrating the PI System across its network of district cooling plants to monitor, analyze, and improve overall plant performance.

What is district cooling? Think of it as a subway for cold air: centralized plants generate chilled air and then shuttle it via underground pipes across large geographic areas. Tabreed cools many of the marquee developments of UAE and Saudi Arabia: the Cleveland Clinic, Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi's Al Maryah Island, Yas Island, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Dubai Metro, Dubai Parks and Resorts and many others

Tabreed currently uses the PI System to optimize eight of its plants. The initial run has been successful and now it will expand to all 74 of them.

What does this mean for you?

1. Yu probably don't spend a lot of our day thinking about air conditioning, but it's one of the most compelling topics in energy efficiency and smart buildings. Space cooling accounts for about 10% of the world's total electricity load, says the IEA and 3% of world's total energy use. 2,100 terawatt hours of power were consumed by space cooling in 2016 out of 21,000 total twh generated. Worldwide, AC uses as much energy, roughly, as aviation and shipping combined.

 2. Cooling is also the fastest growing source of power consumption in buildings. By 2050, 2/3rds of homes worldwide will have AC and135 million AC units get sold every year. 1.6 billion units already exist worldwide with over half of the installed in China and the U.S.

3. It also contributes mightily to peak power, the most expensive kind of power and one that is long linked with spare the air days. In the Middle East, AC could account for 35% of peak load by 2050. In Saudi Arabia, AC can already hit 51% in the summer. It can also hit 70% and beyond in the US, like the time in 2011 in Philadelphia were AC accounted for 74% of peak power. By being smarter and more efficient, we can cut AC power by 45% with Middle East peak AC load cut to 15% or so.

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4. District cooling represents a fraction of the overall AC market, but it sports of advantages like efficiency. Tabreed estimates its operations eliminate 986,750 tons of CO2 annually, or the equivalent of taking 214,000 cars off the road, while reducing energy consumption by 1.97 billion kilowatt hours. That's enough energy to power approximately 112,000 homes in the UAE every year.

5. The equipment also lasts far longer than convention AC systems. Some components go for 30 years or more. Hence, district is expected to expand in new metro developments in Asia, Australia, Africa and America.

6. So what can the PI System do? Make an efficient system even more efficient by surfacing data to help people reduce downtime, shave peak consumption, and pave the way for demand response programs.

7. You can see that in what Coriance and Dalkia are doing with district heating and the PI System in France. (Same idea, but with heat.) Dalkia, a division of EDF, uses the PI system to smooth the ramp for meeting peak demand for 55 district heating networks in France (and to be expanded to 100 in 2 years.) This boosts efficiency by 3%.