This paper evaluates the exergy of an integrated two-stage humidification dehumidification (HDH) desalination with the cooling system. The exergy analysis was carried out for the experimental data generated from a laboratory level experimental setup. The experimental results were developed by varying hot water flow rate and its temperature to the humidifiers and air preheaters. The exergetic efficiency, exergy destruction of each component and desalinated water and gained out ratio (GOR) of the system are evaluated for different experimental conditions. The system performance was evaluated with hot water is supplied at 100,125,150,200 L per hour to humidifiers at different inlet temperatures. Atmospheric air is supplied at a flow rate of 15 cubic metre per hour and maintained it constant throughout the experiments. The desalination yield increases with an increase in water flow rate and its temperature, whereas the cooling effect is observed a decreasing trend. The exergy efficiency in air preheaters, humidifiers and dehumidifiers was observed to be 20–30%, 70–90%, and 30–60%, respectively. Total desalinated water yield of 1.2–1.9 kg per hour is obtained with a GOR of 0.7–1.6 is from the integrated system. Air cooling of 0.1–0.25 kW is observed from the system for the mentioned flow rate of air and hot saline water. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.