Energy consumption due to cooling and ventilation of buildings has grown significantly within the last two decades, and therefore advancement in cooling technologies has become imperative to maximise energy savings. This work numerically investigates the performance of vapour-compression unitary and centralised cooling systems for high rise buildings using an office case-study in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Energy modelling, thermal comfort and indoor air quality analyses have been carried out using the Integrated Environmental Simulation Virtual Environment (IES-VE). Using the benchmark system based on fan-coil units, the findings have indicated that attaching a Variable Speed Drive (VSD) fan can reduce the overall energy consumption of the building by 8%, with 20% reduction in the cooling loads. The unitary cooling system operating on variable refrigerant flow principle achieved an energy reduction of approximately 30%; however, this system is not recommended in high-rise buildings as the CO2 concentration obtained is in excess of 3000 ppm, which is considerably higher than ASHRAE standards. It is essential for buildings running in hot climates to incorporate hybrid cooling techniques to relieve the load on conventional active cooling systems.