With Brisbane ‘s population expected to reach six million people by 2050, energy demand for the CBD now and into the future is of great concern. A District Cooling System allows a city to centralise a cooling plant for CBD buildings, which reduces energy demand, reduces carbon and contributes to a safe and stable electricity supply.

CitySmart has led a consortium through a $2.5 million feasibility study to a realistic and achievable deployment plan to construct a centralised District Cooling System for the Brisbane CBD. Major milestones are expected in 2018.

How it works

Instead of air-conditioned buildings relying on their own cooling systems, a District Cooling System can connect buildings to a chilled water network for their thermal energy needs.

Firstly, buildings are interconnected to optimise existing cooling systems. As buildings connect, plants are decommissioned. Just prior to connection saturation, off-site dedicated cooling plants and thermal storage are constructed to create a true district cooling system.

Chilled water is transported around the CBD through dedicated underground pipes to which individual buildings are connected. A central plant chills the water during off-peak periods and then supplies it to buildings during the day, resulting in significant energy savings.

Major benefits

  • Electricity savings of 10 to 30% for individual buildings
  • Reduction in CO2 emissions by up to 24,000 tonnes per annum
  • Cost savings via the elimination of capital expenditure on replacing or upgrading chiller plants and reduced maintenance costs
  • A shift to off-peak energy consumption, with peak energy demands expected to drop by up to 20 megawatts per annum
  • A CBD-wide project could deliver more than $230 million worth of private sector infrastructure, create more than 500 construction jobs and deliver a $530 million benefit to the economy
  • Free up roof top space for bars and gardens or basement areas for re-purposing
  • Reduces the risk of legionella outbreaks.

Benefits to Brisbane

The initial two-year agreement enables the contractors, Engie and Thiess, to begin securing investment and customers for the project at a time when a number of key developments were planned for the CBD.


More information

For more information about the project, please contact us.