Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration

Ain Al Fayda development ... featuring 56,000 indoor and  5,000 outdoor units.

Ain Al Fayda development ... featuring 56,000 indoor and 5,000 outdoor units.

Mega VRF success for Taqeef in region

UAE-based Taqeef says it has successfully completed the world’s largest variable refrigerant flow (VRF) project, which has earned it a prestigious green award.

April 2019

Taqeef, a leading UAE cooling solutions provider, has executed what it claims to be the world’s largest variable refrigerant flow (VRF) project consisting of 56,000 indoor and 5,000 outdoor units for the 5,000-villa Ain Al Fayda development in Al Ain.

While the development had been originally designed for a traditional split air-conditioning system, Taqeef identified VRF as the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sound solution for the project.

“Project developers Al Qudra and Tamouh were initially looking to appoint a portfolio of air–conditioning suppliers as a single-source strategy was deemed too risky for a project of this magnitude,” Tariq Al Ghussein, Taqeef’s CEO, tells Gulf Construction.

However, Taqeef proposed a VRF technical supply package, coupled with an innovative added-value service, support and training provision, and secured the project in its entirety.

The Dh9-billion ($2.4 billion) Ain Al Fayda is spread over 12.5 million sq m and is a key part of the Emirati Family Housing Programme - a comprehensive, mixed-use, master-planned community catering to an estimated 60,000 population base. Final homeowner handover of the project began in January 2018.

Al Ghussein says the design, specification, size and scope of the project presented numerous challenges, including Estidama Pearl 2 (EER 3.8) compliance; operational capability at 55 deg C outdoor temperature; budgeted internal cooling specification of 24 deg Celsius; high-end aesthetics; significant volume and spare part/stock-holding requirements; and reduced internal access for service/maintenance post-handover.

He says at the time of tender, Midea was the only manufacturer to have a tropical VRF single unit of 42 kW cooling capacity on the market, and so Taqeef’s proposed solution included D4 Midea Plus VRF 42 kW units (11- and 14-unit design options); four in-room motion sensors per villa (to maximise partial load efficiencies and reduce wastage); unducted design to promote better internal air quality, reduced noise, contamination and need for cleaning; and a five-year full warranty for the entire system.

Due to Taqeef’s optimised design proposal, the project made huge savings. There were raw materials cost savings of 17 per cent for copper pipe that equated to Dh2 million ($544,588) and 20,000 kg reduction in overall refrigerant use (a saving of 4 kg per villa). Construction costs were also reduced due to the unducted design.

With 52 per cent occupancy since January 2018, additional significant savings include estimated power savings of 54.36 million kWh, carbon dioxide (CO2) savings of 29.19 million kg and electricity bill savings of Dh21.7 million.

For the Ain Al Fayda development, Taqeef was awarded the prestigious Green Building Award at the Gulf Sustainability and CSR Awards 2019.

Al Ghussein says they are thrilled to be recognised in this important category. “This award is a testament to the dedication of our team and partners in delivering innovative, large-scale cooling solutions that are designed to improve the efficiency of buildings and reduce the impact on both human health and the environment.”

“While VRF wasn’t the simplest solution for this project, it was the most sustainable, and so that made it an obvious choice to us. Through the innovation of our product partners at Midea and that of our talented technical team, we were able to deliver a project that made a positive impact on our business, our region and our industry,” he adds.

Taqeef is currently working on a number of commercial and residential projects in the region.

Amongst them is a turnkey energy solutions residential project by a master developer that will showcase world-class energy-saving intuitive cooling technology, says Al Ghussein, without revealing details.

Commenting on the technologies offered by the company, he says new technologies in heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are challenging the traditional methods of cooling buildings. These solutions offer more sustainable and adaptable cooling, thus meeting the needs of the end user and requirements of new legislation.

Al Ghussein adds chiller efficiency is improving with the onset of variable speed adjustment capacity and the use of technologies such as variable frequency drive (VFD) and invertors.

“Maximum capacities continue to increase, meaning cooling larger areas is becoming more and more affordable and less impactful to the environment. We can cool bigger districts with smaller machines, which need smaller plant areas, and reduced infrastructure costs,” he informs.

In February, Taqeef launched a 3,000-tonne water-cooled centrifugal chiller with a series counter-flow arrangement, compact size and 6,000 tonnes capacity, which is a game-changer for us, he says.

“Midea, for example, is constantly innovating its chiller range and developing new technology to meet the demands of a changing consumer and a changing legislative environment. Its T3 series is specially designed for our desert conditions so it can meet the high ambient conditions without compromising efficiency,” says Al Ghussein.

And, it’s not just efficiency that’s improved, but also capacity and adaptability – with variable speed and better connectivity come more bespoke cooling outputs, he further says.

“So, cooling that’s tailored to the users’ needs means better comfort and less wastage. This will also be further improved with the use of smart controllers which are becoming more commonplace,” he adds.

About Taqeef’s growth plans, Al Ghussein says sustainability in design and building construction continues to drive the development agenda. Retrofitting and upgrading existing air-conditioning systems will be key in delivering government targets on energy efficiency in the UAE.

The company is investing heavily in this area with a focus on energy solutions that sees it sourcing and supplying the most energy-efficient residential and commercial cooling solutions in the market. And VRF will be a key driver for this, presenting continued and sustained growth opportunities.

Al Ghussein says currently, VRF accounts for only eight per cent of the entire air-conditioning market by value. However, it is the fastest growing air-conditioning segment in the UAE.

“It will play a key role in sustainable refurbishments and new commercial projects as the category becomes more established and consultants and specifiers become more knowledgeable about the technology,” he says.

“Our first project resulted in audited savings of 66 per cent. This kind of figures is significant and compelling,” Al Ghussein points out. 

More Stories