Business Bay Executive Towers in Dubai where Empower upgraded the capacity of its district cooling p

Business Bay Executive Towers in Dubai where Empower upgraded the capacity of its district cooling p

Empower to help UNEP initiative

01 August 2015

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has chosen Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower), the world’s largest district cooling services provider, as a partner of its ‘District Energy in Cities’ initiative.

The partnership was cemented on the basis of a case study presented by the company at the International District Energy Association (IDEA) Annual Conference and Trade Show in Boston.

Present at the event was Ahmad bin Shafar, Empower’s chief executive.

During the event, UNEP released the ‘District Energy in Cities’ book, in which Dubai was highlighted as a “Business Model of District Cooling to Developing Cities” and Empower was named as a partner to contribute to the District Energy in Cities initiative. 

Empower was earlier invited to discuss a work-plan that sets the roadmap for the initiative. The company contributed to three major areas: technical, capacity building and training, and communication and outreach. The initiative comes at a time when estimates show that district cooling could effectively serve 30 per cent of the region’s cooling requirements by 2030, if implemented under the right conditions, and could also lead to a reduction in the GCC’s power plant fuel consumption equivalent to 200,000 barrels of oil per day.

According to Bin Shafar, the endorsement of Empower’s business model is the result of strong participation by Empower in several global events, including the UN Climate Summit held last September, the International District Energy Association (IDEA) Conference 2014 held in Dubai, the Vienna Energy Forum 2015 and the IDEA 2015 event.


Bin Shafar added: “It is a matter of great pride to be chosen a partner by UNEP. This is a reflection of the strong international confidence that Empower has gained in record time. Moreover, the inclusion of Empower in the ‘District Energy in Cities’ book as one of the world’s best models in the district cooling industry will enable other cities to benefit from our experience. This is the fruit of our impactful participation in international events where we highlight our key achievements. It has been a highly rewarding experience to showcase our UAE success to the world, demonstrating the technological advancement, operational efficiency and reliability of services that have made Empower such a distinguished name in this sector.”

Chillers at a sea-water district cooling plant

Chillers at a sea-water district cooling plant

The international cooperation as conceived by the initiative is to accelerate the adoption of district cooling systems because of energy efficiency and lower water consumption, especially through the model adopted by Empower in Dubai.

“Our meeting with the initiative’s team allowed us to discuss and adopt the work plan for a period extending until 2016,” said Bin Shafar. Empower’ experience would help in the implementation of the highest standards in district cooling projects in pilot cities,” he added. District cooling yields positive results in terms of saving water and energy, particularly electricity. Modern techniques use non-potable water in district cooling technology, making it the best alternative to conventional cooling which requires a huge consumption of electricity that originally used oil and gas.

The initiative engages partners in working with expert and practitioner groups and building on lessons learned and best practices, developing and delivering appropriate training and capacity building activities to cities and countries, and bringing to the attention of decision-makers the importance of modern district cooling systems.


Empower currently operates more than 1 million RT, providing environmentally responsible district cooling services to large-scale real estate developments such as Jumeirah Group, Business Bay, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai International Financial Centre, Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Ibn Battuta Mall, Discovery Gardens, Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai World trade Centre Residences and Dubai Design District, among others.


Meanwhile, Empower was presented with the Idea (International District Energy Association) Gold Space Award for the total area of district cooling committed and the Idea Silver Award for total number of buildings committed to the system. The presentation took place at the 106th  Idea Annual Conference and Trade Show, held in Boston, US.

The awards recognised Empower’s achievements in adopting world-class district cooling infrastructure while acknowledging its success in expanding the use of district cooling as an ideal economic and environmental solution for residential and commercial units, offices and hotels.

Rob Thornton, president and CEO, Idea, who presented the award to Bin Shafar, emphasised that Empower’s high recognition at the international level represented an endorsement of the company’s constant quest for innovation and efficiency in services.

The Idea Annual Awards are considered the Oscars of the district energy industry worldwide.

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