A new mega district cooling project will make future pilgrimage to the sacred city of Makkah more comfortable for the many pilgrims who visit the Saudi Arabian city each year.
Once a year, the city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia receives approximately 2 million pilgrims during Hajj, a pilgrimage which is one of Islam’s five core practices. This puts great pressure on the city’s infrastructure and therefore, a thorough transformation of the area bordering on the Grand Holy Mosque is under construction.
A local real estate developer has invested in demolishing 3,600 dilapidated buildings in order to clear up space for a new central pedestrian pathway leading up to the mosque. The King Abdul Aziz Road Project measures 3.65 km in length and the average width is 320 meters. The project includes the construction of two roads, a metro line, a grand mosque and over 200 plots that will house more than 100,000 people. The entire area will be served by a new district heating system which will be one of the world’s largest of its kind.
The total construction area covers 1.3 million m2 and the project timeframe is approx. ten years.
To coordinate the district cooling services with the housing development poses a great technical challenge. International Sales and Project Manager at Ramboll, Jørgen Smedegaard, explains:
- The pipes we use have a capacity for serving the entire area once completed. But the new housing development won’t be finished all at once, and we need to start serving a small percentage of the houses as they are completed. Therefore, we have to block some of the pipes and only use part of the system in the beginning to maintain a good efficiency, he says.
Another challenge in this project is the fact that the new pedestrian pathway will be covered in marble, making it very hard to make adjustments to the pipes once buried.
Ramboll has assessed the cooling loads and the cooling demand of each building type. This was carried out through modelling the buildings in IES VE 2015, dynamic thermal modelling simulation software.
Ramboll has made a significant number of assumptions based on guidance from ASHRAE 90.1, the drawings provided and our experience in the Middle East. To deal with the risk associated with the uncertainties in both the design and the operation of the buildings, Ramboll has performed a sensitivity analysis in order to establish which parameters have the greatest impact on the cooling loads.