Honolulu Seawater A/C could be cooling Kakaako high-rise condos

The Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning project, which expects to start construction this fall on the system to cool Downtown Honolulu office buildings and condominium towers with cold water from the ocean, may be expanding to cool the scores of high-rise condos being built nearby in the growing Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako, the project’s CEO told PBN.

“There is enough load for us to expand into Kakaako,” Eric Masutomi, president and CEO of Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning LLC, the project’s developer, told PBN.

He noted that the company has had talks with the two largest landowners in Kakaako — Kamehameha Schools and The Howard Hughes Corp. — regarding the usage of its project, although the Texas-based developer has shown more of an interest at this point.

“Systems like district cooling systems appeal to them greatly,” said Masutomi, who also has pointed out that Maui and Kauai are potential sites for seawater A/C projects.

Race Randle, senior director of development of The Howard Hughes Corp.’s Ward Village in Kakaako, told PBN Monday that, at this time, it does not currently have plans to utilize the Honolulu Seawater A/C system, although it is open to exploring the option of incorporating the system into its projects should the system become more available.

“The Ward Village Master Plan has been thoughtfully designed to incorporate the highest standards of environmental sustainability,” he said in an email to PBN. “Each of our projects in our LEED-ND Platinum certified neighborhood is being built with sustainable practices in mind.”

Masutomi has said that other areas that have seawater A/C potential on Oahu include Kaneohe, Ko Olina and Pearl Harbor.

The Honolulu Seawater A/C project, which would cost more than $250 million to develop, is designed to cool water to provide air conditioning to buildings in Downtown Honolulu by pumping deep ocean water through a pipeline more than four miles offshore to a cooling station in Kakaako.

The company has scored several big wins lately, with eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s impact investment company Ulupono Initiative becoming the main investor of the project and the signing of two well-known buildings in Honolulu — The Queen’s Medical Center and the Alakea Corporate Tower.

Masutomi said he anticipates that the project should be in service by March 2017.

Kamehameha Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PBN Monday.

Duane Shimogawa Reporter – Pacific Business News

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