It is touted as the world’s “biggest underground district cooling network”, but have you heard of it? Well, it is actually no longer a secret because it’s been reported by the media last year. But if you have not known about it, here are some facts about how the buildings in the Marina Bay area are being kept cool – by “district cooling”.
District cooling is the centralised production of chilled water that is piped to buildings for air conditioning, and as a communal utility, services buildings close to one another within a district.
In brief, it is an underground air-cooling system which frees up space above-ground for other uses, such as the infinity pool on top of Marina Bay Sands.
Built 25m underground, the Marina Bay district cooling system “produces 600 tonnes of chilled water each hour, serving more than a dozen customers in the area, including Marina Bay Sands, the Marina Bay Financial Centre and One Raffles Quay”, according to the Energy Market Authority (EMA).
“[Singapore’s District Cooling’s] underground centralised system eliminates the space requirements and upfront costs for customers’ own on-site chillers and roof-top spaces for cooling towers,” said Singapore Power’s Group CEO, Wong Kim Yin, last year.
And if you think such a system, which runs 24/7, applies only to commercial buildings, well, think again.
It could also be developed for residential and outdoor spaces.
“One day maybe your children can play in a playground with the comfort of cooling as well,” said Tan Wee Bing, Executive Engineer (Operations & Maintenance), SP.
Here is a video for an inside look at the underground plant.