ASHRAE Provides Guidance about District Cooling Systems

A newly published book from ASHRAE provides design guidance for all major aspects of district cooling systems.

“District Cooling Guide” includes guidance on central chiller plants, chilled-water distribution systems and consumer interconnection.

District cooling systems are commonly used to serve applications like cities, educational campuses, major medical facilities and other large building complexes. When properly planned and executed, these systems can offer many environmental, efficiency and economic advantages over other means of supplying heating and cooling services, according to Gary Phetteplace, lead author of the guide, which was overseen by ASHRAE’s technical committee on district energy.

For district cooling systems to be successful, their components must be designed to function as a properly integrated system. In addition, owing to the large capital investments involved, such systems must have long lifetimes and they must be efficient and remain so over the long periods necessary to recover these substantial capital investments.

“To achieve efficient operation and long life, proper design is essential,” Phetteplace says. “This manual, along with a guide on district heating scheduled to be published in July 2013 will provide design guidance for all major aspects of district heating and cooling.”

In addition to design guidance, the book contains a chapter dedicated to planning, with additional information on system enhancements and the integration of thermal storage into a district cooling system. Guidance on operations and maintenance, including several case studies, is provided to help operators ensure that systems function as intended.

The book is a useful resource for the inexperienced designer as well as those immersed in the industry, such as consulting engineers with campus specialization, utility engineers, district cooling system operating engineers, central plant design engineers and chilled-water system designers.

The book serves a global audience, he adds. There is nothing inherent to the design approaches provided that would limit their applicability to a particular climate or region of the world. “Special emphasis was placed on ensuring that the guide addressed issues common to systems operating in the Arabian Gulf region where district cooling is seeing rapid growth,” Phetteplace notes.

The book was funded in part through a contribution from Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corp., “Empower.”

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