Select language:
; ;

Kai Tak district cooling system, Hong Kong

Developing a district cooling system using the surrounding seawater

A district cooling system (DCS) with a design capacity of 284MW serving all non-domestic buildings in the Kai Tak development (KTD) is currently in its final construction phase and due for total completion in 2021.

Arup has worked with Hong Kong Electrical & Mechanical Services Department for over 14 years, bringing the project from concept to construction.

The development in Kowloon consists of commercial offices, retail, offices for government departments, transport infrastructure, community buildings, hotels and both public and private housing. It is expected to reduce electricity consumption and carbon emission by approximately 35% compared to a conventional air-cooled method.

Project Summary

284MW design capacity serving the whole Kai Tak development (KTD)

35%reduction in electricity consumption and carbon emission annually

Our sustainability, building services and civil engineers initially looked at the benefits that can be achieved through cooling load sharing between diverse cooling requirements, standby capacity and spatial usage. Apart from reducing the overall plant space and initial cost, the operational cost, maintenance cost and energy efficiency can also be improved substantially and is therefore more cost-effective.

Over the duration of the project, our role also included the installation of electrical and mechanical equipment at the northern plant, southern underground plant room, seawater pump house and DCS substation of the user buildings. This also included the laying of the remaining underground DCS pipes, seawater pipes and associated interface connection with the previous phase pipes so as to provide chilled water to the whole development.


We provided further electrical and mechanical engineering services as well as contract administration and construction supervision of the contracts for the final phase. This project becomes a role model for wider adoption of district cooling system in other areas of Hong Kong.

The annual saving of electricity is expected to be about 85 million kWh after its operation, equivalent to HK$76.5 million on electricity bills and a reduction of 59,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission from the development.

Offering economical advantages over the conventional centralized air-conditioning systems

The District Cooling System in Kai Tak Development offers economical advantages over the conventional centralized air-conditioning systems. This mainly comes from the diversity factor, in that the total installed cooling capacity at the centralized plant is smaller than the sum of individual plants at the individual buildings based on conventional design. It is estimated that savings of at least 10% on overall installed capacity can be achieved which will also reduce the material use and plant space in individual buildings. 

There are significant benefits both in terms of environment, comfort, operational efficiency, energy conservation, flexibility in planning and superior system reliability. By using seawater for heat rejection there is further energy saving and also more open space released to the public through removal of cooling towers.

With its completion,  the system serves the Cruise Terminal Building as well as new developments on the former Kai Tak Airport site. This is the first DCS ever built in Hong Kong and is one of the most important green features realising the sustainability vision of the Hong Kong government.