District cooling is a great way of reducing the heat load and energy footprint in city centres, business districts, urban developments and hospitality projects. By centralising the demand for cooling, it is possible to tap into nearby oceans or rivers for cooling, or to benefit from thermal storage integration. Developing a safe and reliable cooling network involves intelligent engineering, quality products and professional installation.
Local and district cooling networks
Every cooling network is unique, and various stakeholders are involved in the design, installation and operation of a district cooling scheme. The installation often takes place in the public domain and is expected to be smooth and safe. Comfort, reliability and energy performance are key during the operational phase of the network.
Designing a cooling network
Designing a safe and reliable cooling network starts with the specific cooling demand and available energy sources, followed by smart engineering and the best, cost-efficient materials.
Cooling demand varies during the course of the day, and between seasons in most regions. This can be catered for by increasing the dimensioning of the network, a higher temperature delta or a larger pump capacity.
Material choice also has a profound effect on the network design. A robust connection technique and flexible pipes result in a very sophisticated network with fewer components and faster installation.
District cooling networks typically have a high CAPEX, low OPEX investment profile. This means keeping initial costs under control is key. Extremely flexible pipes and a high degree of project-specific prefabrication result in a massive reduction in installation time, costs and risks.
Advantages of in-ground plastic pipes
For secondary networks with many connections and diameters of up to DN200, the flexibility and durability of plastics make them the material of choice. Coiled pipe of up to DN100 further reduces the number of connections and makes for a quick and cost-effective installation.
Due to the soil movement and pressure from groundwater, the installation of buried pipe is obviously very different to indoor applications. State-of-the-art connection and post insulation techniques ensure a reliable network that will stand the test of time.
Maintenance and service life
Plastic pipes have the distinct advantage that they do not corrode and suffer from very limited fouling. This means there is no need for maintenance, and a long lifespan is guaranteed. Using only plastic fusion-welded fittings results in a permanent, corrosion-free network.
Professional, fully enclosed heat shrunk insulation sockets mitigate the risk of water ingress and insulation foam degradation. For district cooling applications, the expected lifespan is several generations.