First appeared in

Asian Development Bank

50 climate solutions from cities in the People's Republic of China


Workers in Chongqing do not need to break a sweat when it comes to cooling and heating their buildings; a new system uses heat pumps from the Yangtze River and cold temperature storage to deliver a more efficient system.

When designing Chongqing’s new Jiangbeizui Central Business District (CBD) , developers needed a more energy- and space-e cient way to regulate temperature in its buildings. Over 1 million square meters of buildings are already being cooled in the summer and warmed in the winter using heat pump technology. With the nearby Yangtze River, the plans are to more than double the capacity in the next phase of construction. Another aspect of the project is the use of ice storage technology. This system works by making ice at night, when electricity demand and price are low, and then dispersing the cold energy during the day, taking strain off the electricity grid and saving costs.


The more efficient system has reduced necessary floor space with 23,070 square meters compared with a regular system, freeing up space to create economic value instead. In addition to this, power requirements have been reduced by 2.62 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually in the fi rst two phases of the project, which added to a significant reduction in water demand, resulting in annual savings of CNY2.1• million. The smart system reduces demand for coal-fi red power and, therefore, eliminates carbon emissions by 26,000 tons per year, as well as creates a comfortable working environment in Jiangbeizui CBD.

River Water Keeping Chongqing Ice Cool
The system uses river water and ice to reduce fossil fuel based energy demand and ensures good temperature regulation in jiangbeizui CBD's buildings (photo by Lie Wu).

The Challenge

With some of the longest and hottest summers in the PRC, Chongqing
uses a signifi cant amount of energy and water to cool its buildings every
year. Air-conditioning units also emit potent greenhouse gases such as hydrofluorocarbons, contributing further to global warming. Smart use of heat pumps in Chongqing is looking to change that.


Economic  With reduced demand for electricity, heat, and water, approximately CNY2.1 million is saved each year.The 23,070 square meters less floor space required are also of value where space is at a premium.

Environment  With less demand for coal-fired power generation, particulate emissions are reduced, as well as noise pollution and water use.

Health  A comfortable temperature for workers helps to improve quality of
life, and fewer particulate emissions reduce the risk of respiratory illness.