District energy refers to generating any combination of electricity, steam, heating, or cooling at a central plant and then distributing that energy to a network of nearby buildings. As a result, individual buildings connected to the network avoid the need to install and maintain their own boilers, furnaces, chillers, or air conditioners, saving on capital and maintenance costs. Many district energy schemes use combined heat and power, recycling the thermal energy left over from electricity generation for heating or cooling. District energy is an efficient, reliable, and cost-effective option for any cluster or network of buildings.
VIDEO: District Energy - Now's the Time
The city of Denver, has the oldest continuously-run district energy system in the nation, providing both steam and cooling to downtown businesses (Photo: Patrick Hurley)