Why District Energy?

District energy is reliable, cost-effective, and efficient. In addition to the many inherent benefits of CHP and other forms of onsite energy or recycled energy, district energy has the additional efficiency advantage of aggregating the electrical, heating, and cooling loads of multiple nearby buildings. A central plant serving steady, even loads is more efficient than individual building heating and cooling systems that have to ramp up or down to meet the building’s needs. For instance, on the cooling side, the design for stand-alone chiller plants typically call for installation of between 30 % and 100% more cooling capacity than what is required from a district energy provider.

Aggregating the energy requirements of dozens or even hundreds of different buildings also allows the district energy system to employ industrial-grade equipment designed to utilize multiple fuels and employ technologies that would otherwise simply not be economically or technically feasible for individual buildings, such as deep lake water cooling, direct geothermal, or waste wood combustion. This fuel flexibility creates a market advantage for district energy systems and establishes the district energy system as an asset for community energy planning. Additionally, the availability of district energy service reduces the capital cost of developing an office building by cutting the boiler and chiller plant capital cost from the project, and frees up valuable space within the customer buildings.

Content Courtesy of International District Energy Association

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