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The Future of Cooling

As temperatures rise, cities across the world are desperate to stay calm and cool; currently, the simplest and most mainstream solution is air-conditioning (A/C), which, as it turns out, worsens the heat problem even more. A unit of A/C can release potent greenhouse gases that exacerbate climate change through hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in its systems. As the number of A/C units worldwide (now standing at one billion) is expected to increase to 4.5 billion by 2050, many organizations have, for the first time, considered the problem of A/C seriously. However, a retailer in Singapore is taking things a step further; it has worked on a feasibility study to explore a way that might be the future of air-conditioning.


The initiative is led by Frasers Property Retail, which aims to become a net-zero carbon corporation by 2050. Its two malls: Century Square and Tampines 1 will be parts of the first batch of buildings to form Singapore’s first DDC (Distributed District Cooling) network. This network involves centralizing cooling plants that distribute chilled water to various facilities through an underground network of insulated pipes to provide air conditioning. In one year, the DDC network could achieve a 17% reduction in energy consumption, an 18% fall in carbon emissions, and 4.3 million dollars in annual economic value.


The challenges presented by climate change are not going to evaporate overnight. Thus, business cooperation to take the leading role is needed to increase the adoption rate and accelerate the development of sustainable cooling solutions. To scale up to the use of the green cooling system, businesses, especially building owners, should focus on contributing positively to sustainability and tackle climate change by starting with reducing carbon emissions from air conditioning. Investing more in new technology to make alternative air conditioning that is good for the environment and replacing a cooling appliance in their workplace with a more sustainable one will go a long way. These initiatives can inspire people in society to shift their home's cooling system in the future, enhancing the customer's pathway to sustainable operations.

The success of this DDC network should entice engagement from other building owners and industry players. Only when everyone works together to advance the vital objective of encouraging sustainable living can a greener future for everyone be created!

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