community economic development safe and reliable energy livable towns and cities
District Energy provides and distributes locally generated thermal energy for heating and cooling homes, commercial and institutional buildings, and industrial processes. The system comprises two elements: a central energy plant containing equipment that produces thermal energy in the form of steam or hot water for heating, or chilled water for cooling as well as combined heat and power – CHP – units which produce electricity; a network of insulated pipes to distribute the thermal energy from the central plant to buildings that receive reliable, efficient, affordable, and clean thermal energy from locally controlled and highly efficient central plants.
district networks achieve economies of scale by meeting the energy demands of many buildings
High Efficiency and low cost are achieved by producing and distributing thermal energy at a local level. Higher efficiency leads to lower costs over the long term, especially with the utilization of local fuels.
Flexibility and resiliency the ability of district energy networks to take heat from multiple sources, fuels, and technologies makes it very flexible, giving communities more secure energy supplies.
Optimum Supplies new and emerging technologies like heat pumps, fuel cells, or biofuels are easily and rapidly retrofitted, without the need to install equipment in end user facilities.
Local Control ensures that investment decisions are made in the community.
Thermal Energy Services can be delivered through a variety of vehicles, including local municipalities, private sector entities and community-owned, nonprofit special purpose vehicles – SPVs – ensuring that surpluses are re-invested to extend the networks, insulate customer buildings or updating control systems.
Carbon Emissions efficiency is achieved with the utilization of fossil fuels and renewable fuels.
district energy offers a complementary infrastructure to gas and electricity networks
Fuel Sources include both fossils and renewables, such as natural gas, oil, coal, biomass, geothermal, solar thermal, and waste to energy that are able to capture and distribute surplus heat from industrial processes and power generation that would otherwise be wasted. Heat networks aggregate the thermal demand of multiple buildings to a scale that enables the use of technologies with higher efficiencies, or ones that may not be economical to deploy at the individual building level, such as biomass, waste to energy, or combined heat and power cogeneration.
A CHP Plant offers significant benefits. Electrical and thermal energy achieve efficiencies of 75% as well as the flexibility of using different fuel types. Thermal storage during periods of peak demand for electricity can be stored and used later during peak thermal demand periods. Also, electric boilers can be utilized to balance periods of over and underproduction of electricity and provide secure thermal energy and power services to the local area reducing stress caused by grid congestion, transmission and distribution losses while improving overall efficiency and energy security.
Local lower cost, less polluting and secure energy are the premises for diverse communities that provide residential, civic, retail, cultural, and entertainment facilities, within walking distance and with efficient public transit; these are the economic multipliers that create new business opportunities and jobs.
Learn More about District Energy Networks for Your Community