Heating company to cool down town

Copenhagen's power company has decided to invest in an environmentally friendly air conditioning project

The capital's largest provider of district heating and natural gas, Københavns Energi, is planning to expand its product line to include the sale of environmentally-friendly air conditioning to city businesses, reported Berlingske Tidende newspaper Tuesday.

Currently the company provides heat to the city by pumping hot water through an underground network of pipes. By running cold water will through the system in summer months businesses will be able to switch off their own cooling systems.

'During the first phase we'll carry out a pilot project in the Kongens Nytorv area downtown, where we can supply air conditioning to The Royal Theatre, Illum department store, the National Bank, Magasin department store and Hotel D'Angleterre, among others,' said Astrid Birnbaum, head of distribution for Københavns Energi.

The company indicated that tests have proven the district cooling system is far more environmentally friendly that traditional systems. One of the first installations planned, which will be placed in Adelgade Street near Rosenborg Palace, will use 80 percent less energy to operate and cut CO2 output by 55 percent compared with that of a central air system.

The reduction in energy consumption will be made possible by the system's use of steam and cold water from Copenhagen harbour.

Despite the promise of the project the company will have to cool its heels before moving forward. Established as a heating and power company, and owned by the city, Københavns Energi needs legal permission from parliament before it can open a new line of business.

The lord mayor, Ritt Bjerregaard, has requested the prime minister for permission to allow the project to get underway.

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