How Cooling-as-a-Service is Driving Change in the Cooling Industry

With the increasing demand for cooling in our modern society, it’s crucial to consider the impact it has on the environment. As the World Green Building Council states, a significant portion of global CO2 emissions can be attributed to the cooling, heating, and lighting of buildings. This fact is especially alarming for cities like Singapore, where buildings contribute to over 20% of carbon emissions. Therefore, it’s essential to explore sustainable solutions, such as green cooling technologies and innovative service models like Cooling-as-a-Service, to minimize the environmental impact of cooling while still meeting our society’s needs.

As the impact of climate change continues to grow, it’s encouraging to see countries worldwide taking decisive action to reduce carbon emissions from buildings. From Singapore’s green building initiatives to Malaysia’s pledge to reduce emissions intensity and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and India’s ambitious net-zero carbon emissions target, these nations are taking bold steps towards a more sustainable future. By implementing these measures and prioritizing sustainable practices, these countries are setting an example for the rest of the world to follow.

The future of cooling presents a significant challenge, as the demand is expected to soar in the coming years. This is particularly true in Asia, where the demand is projected to triple in the next three decades. To meet this challenge, building owners must prioritize sustainable cooling solutions that align with green building standards. By doing so, we can ensure that we meet our cooling needs while also preserving the environment for future generations.

Inefficiency and limitations of traditional cooling systems

The traditional approach, such as a district cooling or centralized cooling system, to cooling system procurement and installation, can be both costly and inefficient. Building owners are required to make significant investments upfront, and ongoing maintenance and operational costs can be substantial due to system repairs and declining efficiency. This model is not sustainable in the long run, and as such, building owners are increasingly exploring alternative models like Cooling-as-a-Service, which offer more cost-effective and sustainable solutions. By shifting to these new models, building owners can improve the sustainability of their buildings while also reducing their operational costs.

The traditional model of cooling system procurement and installation suffers from a lack of accountability and prioritization of efficiency and sustainability. With multiple suppliers involved, there is no single entity responsible for the performance of the cooling system as a whole. Moreover, building owners often shy away from investing in measures that could improve the system’s efficiency and sustainability, such as installing a new chiller plant system, due to the perceived high cost and long payback periods. As a result, alternative models such as Cooling-as-a-Service are becoming increasingly popular as they offer more sustainable and cost-effective solutions to cooling system procurement and installation.

Cooling as a Service to solve the cooling dilemma

The shift towards alternative business models like servitization is transforming the way building owners approach cooling system procurement and installation. Cooling as a Service (CaaS) is a popular alternative model that enables building owners to subscribe to air-conditioning services instead of purchasing, installing, and maintaining the systems themselves. With CaaS, building owners can unlock investments in more sustainable and cost-effective technologies while also reducing their operational costs. This shift towards more sustainable and cost-effective solutions is becoming increasingly critical as demand for cooling continues to grow.

The Cooling as a Service (CaaS) model is gaining popularity as it offers building owners a more flexible and cost-effective approach to cooling system procurement and installation. With CaaS, the upfront investment and project performance risk are transferred to the service provider, who selects the ideal technology to drive sustainability and can reallocate equipment as needed. Building owners only need to specify their desired temperature conditions and pay a fixed rate per Refrigerant Ton Hour (RTH) on a pay-as-you-use basis. This model enables building owners to focus on their core business while also benefiting from more sustainable and efficient cooling solutions.

The traditional model of a cooling system, like a centralised cooling system, is focused on hardware use, whereas Cooling as a Service (CaaS) utilises advanced technology to maximise efficiency. With real-time monitoring and control, service providers can optimise system functions using data and artificial intelligence (AI), resulting in better energy management and indoor experiences that adapt to the changing conditions of the premises. By embracing technology and prioritising sustainability, CaaS offers a more modern and efficient approach to cooling system management.

Elpro Business Park & Elpro City Square in India is a prime examples of how Cooling as a Service (CaaS) can drive sustainability. The mixed-use development achieved 100% solar-powered cooling, which also generates surplus clean energy that can power over 200 Indian households a year. The system is AI-powered and remotely monitored, enabling real-time data tracking and analysis with in-built controls and an automated optimisation tool. This demonstrates how CaaS is not only beneficial for the environment but also financially sustainable for businesses.

Sustainability is a top priority at the INSEAD Asia campus in Singapore. Its commitment to environmental responsibility is reflected in its recent Green Mark Platinum award from the Building and Construction Authority. The campus’s innovative use of a water-cooled chilled water system under the CaaS model has resulted in impressive energy savings. The system consistently performs at an optimal level, achieving a remarkable 25% better performance than the platinum standard of the BCA Green Mark criteria. This translates to a significant 4.8% reduction in total building energy consumption. The campus’s dedication to sustainable practices and eco-friendly technologies serves as an example for other institutions to follow.

Final words

The growing demand for cooling poses a significant challenge to global sustainability efforts. Currently, cooling accounts for 10% of global electricity demand, and this number is projected to increase to 30% of ASEAN’s peak electricity demand by 2040. To avoid a climate catastrophe and prevent a surge in electricity demand, it is crucial to implement clean and efficient cooling solutions. This requires a concerted effort to transition away from traditional, energy-intensive cooling systems and towards more sustainable technologies that minimize environmental impact. By adopting these solutions, we can ensure a more sustainable future while mitigating the effects of climate change.

CaaS represents a significant step forward in the delivery of cooling solutions. By providing access to advanced and sustainable cooling technologies, CaaS promises to benefit people, businesses, and the world. With CaaS, the cost of implementing new cooling systems is no longer a barrier to entry, enabling more people and businesses to access these critical technologies. By promoting sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of cooling systems, CaaS is driving innovation and transformation in the cooling industry, with a positive impact on the environment and people’s lives.

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