We all know how costly airconditioning bills can be during the summers in Dubai. To combat the impending costly A/C bills, tenants and homeowners have the choice of choosing between chiller-free and district cooling in Dubai.
If you are currently caught amidst the decision of choosing between these different cooling systems in Dubai and are not sure how to proceed, you’ve come to the right place. This article explains the difference between chiller-free and district cooling in Dubai and which of these are best suited to reduce increasing airconditioning bills.
Let’s begin by explaining each of the different cooling systems in Dubai.
DISTRICT COOLING IN DUBAI
District cooling (DC) in Dubai was introduced back in 1999 to provide a climate-friendly and cost-effective temperature control system for all residential and commercial properties in the city. Currently, Emicool and Empower in Dubai and Tabreed in Abu Dhabi, are the major District cooling service providers in the UAE. Apart from theses, Emaar, which is one of the top real estate developers in the Dubai, also serves some of their communities with district cooling plants.
Some of the residential neighbourhoods in Dubai with Empower’s district cooling systems include Ghoroob Mirdiff, Al Khail Gate, Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) and many more. Areas in Dubai with Emicool’s district cooling services include Dubai Investment Park (DIP), Dubai Motor City and Dubai Sports City.
HOW DO DISTRICT COOLING SYSTEMS IN DUBAI WORK?
District cooling systems in Dubai reduce the amount of electricity used by air-conditioning units to cool a space. Instead of having electricity redirected to individual air-conditioning units, chilled water is pumped from a central plant nearby, into the building or villa complex via an underground insulated pipeline. This chilled water economically lowers the temperature of the air passing through the airconditioning system. Through this method, DC claims to reduce power consumption by 50% making it more environment-friendly and cost-effective for tenants and homeowners.
WHAT IS THE COST OF DISTRICT COOLING IN DUBAI?
Owners, tenants and companies can all apply for district cooling for their home, office or retail space, if it is available in the area. According to Empower’s website, the ‘Consumption Charge’ and ‘Demand Charge’ are two of the main aspects of the district cooling cost in Dubai. The Consumption Charge is levied based on district cooling usage recorded by the meter of the unit, at the premise. It is billed at a rate of AED 0.568 fils per Refrigeration Ton (RT) per hour. As for the Demand Charge, this is charged to the tenant/owner/company for providing District Cooling Service to the apartment/unit at AED 750/ RT per annum.
Here’s the example from Empower’s website on what District Cooling charges in Dubai look like. This is an approximate figure and can vary depending on the size of the area and the usage.
- Yearly Demand Charge: 6 RT (The RT load of the A/C of your unit) * 750 = 4500 AED per Year.
- Monthly Demand Charge for the month of January: 4500/365*31 = 387.50
Other charges that can apply for obtaining a District cooling system in Dubai include Meter Maintenance Charge, Connection Charge, Administration Charge, Disconnection Fee, Meter Testing Fee and Voluntary Disconnection Request. For a more in-depth explanation of each of those district cooling charges in Dubai, check out this detailed price breakdown of Empower’s district cooling service charges.
WHAT IS CHILLER-FREE IN DUBAI?
The concept of chiller-free in Dubai is quite different from district cooling. But what does chiller free mean in Dubai?
Unlike district cooling where the tenant pays for the cooling charges, with chiller-free the landlord bears the complete cost of air conditioning instead of the tenant. Tenants of chiller-free flats in Dubai only have to pay for the consumption of electricity within the unit, excluding air-conditioning.
HOW DOES CHILLER FREE IN DUBAI WORK?
The cost of using airconditioning units is dependant on usage which is recorded by a meter which is usually on the premises. With chiller-free, a separate chiller system is installed at the roof and connected to the building’s main electricity meter. With this mechanism, the charges for the cooling go directly to the landlord and do not reflect on your DEWA bill.
WHAT IS THE COST OF CHILLER FREE IN DUBAI?
Chiller-free is an added perk that landlords provide tenants when renting villas or apartments in Dubai and there is no specific cost associated to it. However, it’s important to keep in mind that although the cooling charges will not apply, your monthly consumption of electricity and water will vary depending on the size of the unit and the usage patterns.
CHILLER-FREE VS DISTRICT COOLING IN DUBAI: WHICH IS BETTER?
Both chiller-free and district cooling offer unique advantages for residents. The advantages of district cooling is that it’s a more environmentally friendly option as there is reduced energy consumption. However, the cost has to be borne by the individual which can pose as a difficulty for residents whose goal is to save money.
The essential difference between district cooling and chiller-free is the choice afforded to tenants. Chiller-free properties mean that you as a tenant are not paying for air conditioning usage. If you are renting in an area with district cooling, you can still have chiller-free as a benefit, because this is a choice that is made by the landlord.
With chiller-free properties in Dubai, the landlord foots the bill of the cooling (whether it is district cooling or traditional cooling) making it a cheaper alternative. Tenants can capitalise on these chiller-free offers and reduce their overall cost of living in Dubai and have some savings.
Ultimately, in the debate between district cooling vs chiller-free, it all comes down the objective of the individual. If the aim is to save as a tenant, chiller-free is likely to be an economical option.
If you want to opt away from chiller-free or district cooling systems in Dubai, the alternative is conventional cooling methods where airconditioning is charged based on monthly usage rather than a one time fee. These charges are applied straight to the monthly electricity and water bill that comes from DEWA. In the case of conventional cooling methods in Dubai, more usage equals a higher bill. However, tenants and homeowners who opt for this can get some saving with limited/restricted usage of the AC units.
That’s all we have so far for this comparison of district cooling vs chiller-free in Dubai. We hope you found this article informative and helpful in your upcoming search for a home.
Now that you’re all caught up with the technical jargon of all the cooling systems in the city, it’s time to find a home that suits your needs. If your prefered choice is chiller-free, here’s a look at the top five buildings with chiller-free apartments in Dubai. As for those who prefer district cooling, the Palm Jumeirah community offers a stunning range of villas with this option.
Do you have experience with using district cooling or chiller-free? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!