District cooling is the world’s best-kept energy secret, according to the president of the US-based International District Energy Association (IDEA), Rob Thornton, who was speaking earlier this week at a two-day international conference on district energy in Qatar.
District cooling is the centralized production and distribution of cooling energy with chilled water delivered via an underground insulated pipeline to offices, industrial and residential buildings to cool the indoor air of the buildings.
‘District energy is essential to solve the challenges we face in supplying energy needs to our cities,’ said Thornton, adding: ‘Not only is district cooling more efficient but it is also more valuable. District cooling is the best kept energy secret.’
IDEA ran its international conference for the first time in Qatar, with local district cooling company Qatar Cool hosting the 130-plus international delegates present.
Qatar Cool CEO Fayad Al-Khatib told the delegates that, as a new industry: ‘it is our duty to raise the awareness and share information and the benefits for our stakeholders.’ 
Based on 2009 data from operations in West Bay, Qatar Cool confirmed that its district cooling operations made up to 60% of the annual energy savings over conventional cooling technology.
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